General Motors Co. struck a deal to buy cobalt from Glencore Plc, the top supplier of the key battery material, as car companies around the world seek to secure supplies amid worries about possible future shortages.
As the auto industry rolls out more electric vehicles, concerns are mounting about potential supply crunches of crucial battery metals such as lithium, nickel and cobalt. Lithium prices are near a record high, while nickel surged as much as 250 percent at one point last month amid a short squeeze on the London Metal Exchange.
GM said it agreed multiyear deal for cobalt from Glencore’s Murrin Murrin mine in Australia. The companies gave no details on volumes or prices included in the accord. GM plans to be able to build 1 million EVs a year in North America by the end of 2025.
The global push toward a greener future is firing up demand for battery metals, at a time when the pandemic has exacerbated supply constraints, and higher prices has threatened carmakers’ margins. Glencore has already signed cobalt supply agreements with Tesla Inc. and BMW AG, while rival miners Vale SA and BHP Group have struck nickel deals with automakers.