That Apple is taking various steps to become more independent in the production of their appliances, relying less and less on suppliers and other companies, not new to anyone. But the next step for Tim Cook and his class may be the most advanced in this sense so far, and reason has nothing to do with supposed technological independence, but something much more basic.
According to the Bloomberg, Apple would be entering negotiations to buy cobalt directly from mining companies in Africa; the element, as is well known, is one of the main ones used in the manufacture of lithium ons batteries that basically equip every modern mobile device.
According to the report, Ma already started discussions about the move about a year ago, and probed contracts with mining companies guaranteeing the direct supply of “thousands of tons of cobalt per year for at least five years”, without mentioning values or even one. guarantee that the decision can go ahead. The Democratic Republic of Congo is the country with the greatest advantage in mining the element, and about 65% of all cobalt supplied in the world comes from there; the price of the element has tripled in recent months and now a ton of cobalt comes out on average $ 80,000.
Apple's main reason for the clear move: a prospect of element shortage in the near future. With a host of new equipment, especially electric cars (which need about a thousand times more cobalt than a smartphone battery), incorporating lithium-ion batteries, the cobalt situation may become more delicate and impossible to achieve. But with its very high demand, it remains dependent on the supplier contract with the African mining companies. By guaranteeing a direct receipt, the company is quiet about the future and can save money.
Providing direct cobalt may bring yet another advantage for Ma: by choosing Ma Miner (or the miners) to negotiate with Ma itself, the company can avoid accusations of using material from regions that violate human rights as is well known, Mining in Africa is a fertile ground for serious violations of human integrity and labor rights, with numerous cases of child labor or slave analogue.
Apple, as expected, did not comment on the matter.