Apple turns directly to mines to secure Cobalt required for batteries

By Greg S ยท 14 replies
Feb 21, 2018
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  1. Even though there is still no commercialization of all the new extended life battery technologies that have been presented over the past few years, there are problems other than degradation and short life spans. Buying the materials to produce batteries is becoming more difficult as global demand increases.

    Apple is now discussing the possibility of purchasing cobalt directly from miners instead of allowing third-party manufacturers to secure the necessary element. Each iPhone battery has an estimated 8 grams of refined cobalt. For comparison, an electric vehicle requires thousands of times more for proportionately more lithium batteries.

    Annual global cobalt was slightly over 50,000 tons in 2017. By 2025, an estimated 150,000 tons will be required, followed by a massive jump to over 300,000 tons by 2030. These drastic increases are attributable to increased production of electric vehicles.

    In order to produce the millions of batteries needed for the next generations of iPhones and iPads, Apple is looking to acquire a few thousand metric tons of cobalt annually for at least the next five years. Currently, around 25 percent of the annual cobalt production is used in mobile devices. Electric vehicle production may push towards a shortage in material due to the sheer increase in required volume.

    Cobalt is now on the market for over $80,000 per metric ton and has more than doubled in price since 2016. If the upward trend continues, it may not be just Apple that increases pricing on products containing lithium batteries.

    Further complicating matters, Apple and Samsung have both been put under scrutiny for procuring cobalt from mines where child labor was found to have been used. Both companies have since dropped a number of small-scale mines in the Congo to prevent backlash and have turned to other suppliers.

    Permalink to story.

  2. R00sT3R

    R00sT3R TS Enthusiast Posts: 37   +33

    This company needs to be brought to heel, it's influence now distorts the entire market place.

    Soaring RAM prices for a start...Apple, who get first option from the factory with everyone else left to dine on the scraps, which pushes up prices.
  3. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,687   +778

    And out come the irrational Apple haters.... So Apple realizes they are going to need cobalt over the next several years... and they decide to get into the cobalt mining business... how is this a reason to go and slam Apple? If you read the entire article, you'll note that this is ALREADY OCCURRING, as both Apple AND Samsung have interests in cobalt mines... Are you going to start hating on Samsung as well?
    Kenrick likes this.
  4. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,492   +1,615

    Lithium batteries are better for small electronics but I still think super capacitors are better for electric vehicles.
    Found the apple user
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,867   +3,887

    When you can't buy a mine and someone you dislike can, well... hater's gonna hate.
  6. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,687   +778

    Their chief competitor, Samsung, is fully able to purchase cobalt mines if they desired to. And since they're really fond of copying whatever Apple does, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if they followed suit.
  7. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,867   +3,887

    Any business with any sense and a long-term vision gets into the businesses their main business depends on. Few understand this.
    jobeard, Kenrick and trparky like this.
  8. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 607   +393

    Pure nonsense. Why not blame Apple also for the rising prices of video cards.
  9. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,361   +1,109

    Southwest Airlines bought JP fuel as a hedge for years and when the prices went through the roof, their margin was allowed them to be the ONLY airlines with a profit for the year -- hedging on dependent supplies is called smart business.

    Elon Musk has already estimated the lithium needed to allow 500k Tesla cars - - basically the ENTIRE world supply!

    So hedging on battery materials is good business.
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,361   +1,109

    Also found the MS+Android fanatic
  11. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,687   +778

    Yeah, but if Apple does it, it must be because they're evil... Got to love the haters :)

    Edit: By the way, I can prove they're evil - they removed the 3.5mm headphone jack on their iPhones solely to piss everyone off... Google, on the other hand, did it for intelligent practical reasons....
    davislane1 likes this.
  12. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,492   +1,615

    I actually hate Android as an operating system and if the software I used didn't require windows I'd be using Linux Mint right get now
    jobeard likes this.
  13. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,361   +1,109

    What is 1 + 1? Your hateful response?
  14. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,687   +778

    I believe you just compared your own intellect to a #2.... well played!
  15. Peter Farkas

    Peter Farkas TS Addict Posts: 284   +91

    So Apple would directly contract with militant groups controlling mines in DRC? I wondered what would come after the Foxconn/Chinese worker's scandal....

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