German automaker BMW will buy cobalt, a major component for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, directly from mines in Australia and Morocco to make sure they are not produced by child labor, an executive stated on Tuesday.
The announcement came as the London Metal Exchange (LME) introduced an initiative under which it could prohibit or delist brands that are not responsibly sourced by 2022 to help root out metal tainted by child labor or corruption.
Andreas Wendt, BMW board member responsible for procurement, informed a briefing in Paris that the new supply of cobalt would be utilized in the automaker’s next generation of EVs in 2020.
A spokesman for mining and trading firm Glencore informed Reuters that his company would supply BMW with cobalt from its Australian Murrin Murrin mine which produced 2,900 tonnes of cobalt in 2018.
The world’s largest known reserves of cobalt are observed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the raw ingredient is often mined by small, artisanal operations and supply chains are not monitored enough.
BMW stated last year it was finding ways to improve working conditions for mining cobalt in Congo through a pilot project.