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Murrin Murrin cobalt: A prized resource

Murrin Murrin

Glencore will supply General Motors Co. with cobalt from its Murrin Murrin operation in Western Australia after the two entered into a multi-year offtake agreement.

Murrin Murrin’s cobalt will be used in General Motors’ Ultium battery cathodes, which will power electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC HUMMER EV and Cadillac LYRIQ.

The partnership solidifies the ties between the two companies, who are both members of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), which was established in 2008 to address responsible mineral sourcing issues in supply chains.

Murrin Murrin also has the endorsement of the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process, which involves an independent third-party assessment of smelter/refiner management systems and sourcing practices.

“We are delighted to announce this collaboration and support General Motors in delivering its electric vehicle strategy,” Glencore US cobalt marketer and trader Ash Lazenby.

“Future facing commodities like cobalt play a pivotal role in decarbonising energy consumption and the electric vehicle revolution. Glencore is already a leading producer, recycler and supplier of these commodities, which underpin our own ambition of achieving net zero total emissions by 2050.”

By the end of 2025, General Motors aims to have the capacity to build one million electric vehicles in North America, and it will do this through a series of actions such as shoring up lithium supply and establishing a rare earths value chain.

Aside from Murrin Murrin, much of the world’s cobalt production is confined to Congo.

According to data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Congo is estimated to have produced 120,000 tonnes of cobalt in 2021. S&P Global forecasts Congo will increase its output to 131,262 tonnes in 2022.

It is estimated Russia produced 7600 tonnes of cobalt in 2021, however the future of this jurisdiction remains uncertain amid the ongoing Ukraine war.

As the cobalt demand continues to grow, more cobalt projects will need to come online to secure supply chains.

Where this will come from? We’ll have to wait and see.

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