The iPhone maker is one of the world’s largest end users of cobalt for the batteries in its gadgets, but until now it has left the business of buying the metal to the companies that make its batteries. The talks show that the tech giant is keen to ensure that cobalt supplies for its iPhone and iPad batteries are sufficient, with the rapid growth in battery demand for electric vehicles threatening to create a shortage of the raw material. About a quarter of global cobalt production is used in smartphones.
Apple is purportedly seeking contracts that will secure the supply of several thousand metric tons of cobalt a year for five years or longer. Discussions with miners began over year ago; however, Apple could decide not to go ahead.
The price of cobalt has over tripled in the past year and a half to trade above $80,000 a metric ton.