LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg said that the automotive industry is waking up too late to the fact that the Chinese will hold most of the world’s global cobalt supply, a key metal for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
“If cobalt falls in hands of the Chinese, yeah you won’t see EVs being produced in Europe. They are waking up too late... I think it’s because the car industry has never had a supply chain problem before,” Glasenberg told the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland.
About 70 percent of global cobalt production comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Glencore, the world’s biggest producer, agreed last week to sell a third of its output to China’s GEM.
Glasenberg said he was nevertheless prepared to sell cobalt mines in the DRC to China if it came with a very good price. He added that the company wasn’t changing production plans in the DRC and that the working group of miners were still working with the government on stability clause length and royalties.
Reporting by Julia Payne, editing by Louise Heavens