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Glencore and Britishvolt sign strategic partnership for long-term supply of cobalt; Glencore investment

Glencore has entered a long-term strategic partnership for the supply of responsibly sourced cobalt with Britishvolt, a UK startup planning a Gigafactory (earlier post). Glencore has also made an undisclosed investment in Britishvolt.

Glencore is one of the world’s leading producers of cobalt; in 2020, Glencore produced 27.4 kt of cobalt at its assets. Glencore produces cobalt mainly as a by-product of copper mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but also as a by-product of nickel mining in Australia and Canada.

Glencore is also one of the largest recyclers and processors of cobalt-bearing materials, such as used batteries—helping secure the supply of the metal at a time of increasing demand.

The partnership represents a major milestone for Britishvolt on its quest to assist vehicle OEMs on their roadmaps to electrification. By securing one of the key battery ingredients from the Glencore cobalt brands, Britishvolt is significantly de-risking its operation by obtaining long-term security of supply across its business.

Our commitment to support our partners in meeting their requirements for essential battery ingredients is key to underpinning long-term supply agreements. As the mobility and energy transition accelerates, so does future demand for battery metals such as cobalt, copper and nickel. Glencore is already a leading producer and supplier of these metals, helping to underpin our ambition of achieving net zero total emissions by 2050.

—David Brocas, Head Cobalt Trader, Glencore

Britishvolt intends to manufacture sustainable, low-carbon battery cells on the site of the former Blyth Power Station coal stocking yard located in Cambois, Northumberland.

The project will be built in three phases each of 10 GWh to a total capacity of 30 GWh by end-2027 onwards. Once at full capacity, the Gigaplant will have a production capability equating to approximately enough cells for around 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs per year, intended primarily for the automotive industry.

It will be the first large full-cycle Gigaplant in the UK.


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