(Sharecast News) - The world's largest cobalt producer made an unexpected U-turn on Tuesday, giving its backing to artisanal miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a bid to assuage carmakers concerns around the ethics of its practices.
On Monday, Glencore joined the Fair Cobalt Alliance, whose aim is to eradicate child mining and improve working conditions in the central African state.
China's Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt was another backer of the initiative.
"The FCA is a vehicle for businesses all along the supply chain to collaborate with the DRC government and civil society to transform the artisanal mining sector into a source of fair, safe and responsibly mined cobalt," Glencore's chief cobalt trader, David Brocas, told Bloomberg.
Cobalt from the DRC accounts for roughly three quarters of the world's supply and forecasts are that demand is set to grow extremely quickly on the back of demand from electric vehicle manufacturers who require it to build car batteries.
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