Glenco’s boss has warned of future Chinese dominance in electric cars

According to the world’s largest battery metal manufacturer, the car industry in the United States and Europe risks outperforming their Chinese rivals unless they supply cobalt.

Evan Glasenberg, chief executive of Glencore, told the FT Future Car Summit on Wednesday that Western carmakers would be reluctant to think that they could always rely on China to supply batteries for the fleet of electric vehicles.

Glasenberg said Chinese companies realized the weakness of their supply chain and “tied up” a lot of cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cobalt is a metal used in lithium-ion batteries used in long-term electric vehicles.

“Western companies have not done that. They either don’t believe it’s an issue or they believe they must get batteries from China, ”Glasenberg said.

“But if that doesn’t happen and the Chinese say we won’t export batteries, we’re going to export electric vehicles. Where will the battery come from? “

A comes as a warning Lack of global chips The car puts the supply chain under the microscope and has followed a 50 percent increase in cobalt prices over the past six months.

Produced as a by-product of copper and nickel mining, more than 0% of the world’s 130,000 tons of annual cobalt income comes from the DRC, Africa’s poorest country.

Chinese companies already control about 40 percent of DRC’s output and have also signed long-term supply agreements with Glencore, the country’s only major Western mining operator.

China has also established an influential position in cobalt processing and is investing directly in mining. Earlier this year, CATL, a Chinese battery group with a market value of ১৩ 130 billion, paid 13 137 million for every 25 percent of the Kisanfu copper-cobalt mine in China molybdenum.

Glensberg said Glenco would consider a partnership with a Western carmaker in one of its DRC mines, although it did not find an approach.

“It’s not surprising yet. Personally, I believe it would be a great idea. Historically, if you look at it, Henry Ford did it. He tied his supply chain, it was rubber plantation … or Brazil’s iron supply.”

Glencoe has the potential to produce about 35,000 tonnes of cobalt this year, which could rise to 25,000 to 30,000 if the company decides to develop a new ore company at Mutanda, a mural in DRC. “I think it will flow in the next 18 months,” Glasenberg said.

Asked if he was concerned about a reduction in the amount of cobalt in the battery, Glasenberg said it would be more of an offset than an increase in sales of explosive electric vehicles.

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