LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Fourteen non-governmental organisations (NGOs) including Amnesty and Global Witness have opposed plans by the London Metal Exchange to ban cobalt tainted by human rights abuses, a letter seen by Reuters showed.
Cobalt is a key ingredient in the batteries that power electric vehicles, a fast-growing sector of the auto industry, and in metal alloys used to make jet engines. It was singled out in LME proposals to embed responsible sourcing principles into metal brands deliverable against its contracts, which include copper and zinc.
Most of the world’s supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, often from artisanal mines where several organisations have cited human rights abuses.
The LME plan outlined last October involves suspending cobalt brands trading at a significant discount to its contract on the grounds that they may be seen as tainted.
Now, objections by NGOs to a consultation on its plans could leave the exchange at risk of legal challenges from banned cobalt producers, metal industry sources say. The LME will publish its proposals this quarter.
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