LONDON (Reuters) – The London Metal Exchange (LME) could ban or delist brands that are not responsibly sourced by 2022 under an initiative launched on Tuesday to help root out metal tainted by child labor or corruption.
But the LME, seeking to avoid overly punishing small mining brands to the benefit of larger miners such as Glencore, said it would not single out cobalt and tin for accelerated auditing.
Cobalt, a key ingredient in the batteries that power electric vehicles, is mined by small, artisinal operations mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where supply chains are not strictly monitored.
“It would take us longer to take action against cobalt and tin brands because we would give them longer to comply,” LME chief executive Matt Chamberlain said on a call with reporters.
The proposal is the largest step yet by the LME, the world’s biggest market for industrial metals, to clean up global supply chains and marks a shift from the exchange’s traditional role of requiring its suppliers to meet only metallurgical standards.