BMW says it will buy the cobalt and lithium for the batteries for its EVs at various mines. The company says to do that for transparency reasons. The manufacturer will supply the metals to battery cell producers with whom it has recently concluded supply deals.
BMW says it will buy the raw cobalt for battery cell production directly from mines in Australia and Morocco and make it available to producers CATL and Samsung SDI. The German car company is going to do the same for lithium, including lithium from Australian mines. BMW will probably also obtain part of the required lithium through the salt brine in the Andes Mountains, since that is also an important source of lithium.
Congo-Kinshasa is missing in the aforementioned list of cobalt sources. BMW probably didn’t mention that country. This African country is by far the largest contributor to global cobalt production, but it is not just industrial mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are also quite a few artisanal mines without supervision, where the copper needed for the cobalt is extracted in a way that is not only dangerous for the miners, but also bad for the environment.
The BMW Group says it will proceed to purchase cobalt and lithium directly in order to be completely transparent about where the raw materials for the required batteries for its cars come from. The company says that environmental standards and respect for human rights have the highest priority. BMW states that the fifth generation of electric powertrains for its electric cars from 2021 will also be produced entirely without the use of rare earth metals.
BMW makes the report about the individual purchase of lithium and cobalt as part of deals that the company has concluded with the Chinese CATL and Samsung SDI. BMW has entered into an agreement with CATL for a total value of 7.3 billion euros for the supply of battery cells, and a similar deal of 2.9 billion euros with Samsung SDI. This is intended to assure BMW in the longer term of the availability of sufficient battery cells for its electric cars.