Apple Inc. in talks to source cobalt directly from Africa

Apple Inc., the maker of iPhone and iPad plans to change its tactics of acquiring cobalt, boycotting the companies that make its batteries and procuring directly from miners, to ensure the sufficient supply of the battery ingredient for its operations.

A Bloomberg source that pled anonymity informed that the American multinational technology company has started seeking contracts with miners, to safeguard the availability of thousand metric tons of cobalt a year for five years or more. However, another source informed the international news agency that Apple could still decide not to make any move regarding cobalt deals with miners.

Rapid growth in battery demand for electric vehicles and speculation making rounds on cobalt shortage in the tech industry has led Apple to consider the “direct-to-manufacturer” approach of obtaining the ferromagnetic metal.

Trading above $80,000 per metric ton, cobalt price has increased for close to a year and half.

Following the scrutiny of Apple’s supply chain from human rights groups including Amnesty International, who accused Apple and Samsung Electronics Co.’s Chinese suppliers of buying cobalt from mines that rely on child labor, the tech giant has reexamined its dealings with cobalt suppliers in recent years.

Cobalt is a core ingredient of technology-driven lifestyles, as a quarter of global cobalt production is used by tech-producing companies who use it for the lithium-ion batteries in smartphones and gadgets.