Glencore, Samsung SDI sign 5-year, 21kt cobalt supply deal

Swiss miner-trader Glencore has signed a five-year deal - from 2020 until 2024 - to supply South Korean battery manufacturer Samsung SDI with 21,000 tonnes of cobalt contained in hydroxide, Glencore said on February 10.

Glencore produces cobalt hydroxide at its Katanga mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - slated to produce about 29,000 tonnes of cobalt in intermediates this year.

Glencore’s Mutanda mine, also in the DRC, was placed on care and maintenance late last year.

Stipulated within the deal with Samsung SDI, Glencore’s DRC operations will be independently audited each year against the ‘Cobalt Refinery Supply Chain Due Diligence Standard’, as defined by the Responsible Mining Initiative.

“The deal demonstrates a further continuation of Glencore’s cobalt hydroxide marketing strategy to secure long-term supply agreements with key players in the lithium-ion battery supply chain,” Nico Paraskevas, Glencore’s head of copper and cobalt marketing said in a statement.

There were a number of multi-year deals for cobalt-hydroxide supply signed late last year, including to SK Innovation and GEM, both agreed by Glencore.

Along with the closure of Mutanda, such deals created a sense that the cobalt market will fall further into balance in 2020, while demand from the battery and electric vehicle sectors is realized.

Fastmarkets industry benchmark daily price assessment for cobalt, standard-grade, in warehouse was assessed at $16.70-17.20 per lb on Friday February 7, up from lows of $12.10-12.75 per lb in July last year.

Cobalt hydroxide payables have also received a boost this year amid steady spot supply and tightening availability.

Fastmarkets’ cobalt hydroxide payable indicator stands at 65.5-67% of the standard-grade low, as of February 5, up from 61.5-62% at the beginning of January.

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