Followers of Elon Musk are used to big claims on Twitter. The social media habits of the Tesla and SpaceX billionaire have landed him in legal hot water on several occasions. But for the battery industry one boast stands out: a tweeted pledge to remove an obscure mineral mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo from the next generation of Tesla’s electric cars.
Batteries are the key component in the electric car revolution that Tesla kickstarted, and each one contains cobalt. Yet concerns about human rights abuses and child labour have prompted a dual effort to cut the amount of cobalt used in batteries and to clean up complex global supply chains.
The battery industry accounts for the majority of global cobalt demand, and that demand is set to soar with more than $60bn (£46bn) of investments in new battery factories during 2019, according to the data firm Benchmark Minerals. Continue Reading →