Glencore to Double Cobalt Output on Electric Vehicle Demand – by Thomas Wilson (Bloomberg News – December 12, 2017)

Glencore Plc will double its production of cobalt in the next two years, tightening its grip on the market for the key battery component of electric vehicles.

The Swiss commodity giant’s Toronto-listed Katanga Mining Ltd. in the Democratic Republic of Congo will produce as much as 34,000 tons in 2019, Katanga said Monday. That compares with the 20,000 tons-a-year guidance Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg gave in August and could give Glencore control of about 40 percent of world supplies, according to current data.

Glencore, which mines products from coal to zinc and trades some 100 raw materials, is zeroing in on cobalt after prices more than doubled this year on demand from automobile and battery manufacturers.

The trader has already held discussions with Volkswagen AG, Tesla Inc., Apple Inc. and various battery makers about signing supply contracts, Glasenberg said Tuesday. “There’s a lot customers who want to lock in supply,” he said on an investor call.

The company’s Mutanda Mining, also in the Congo, was the largest producer of the metal last year, shipping 24,500 tons out of a worldwide market of about 109,500 tons, according to cobalt trader Darton Commodities Ltd.

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