The European Union’s efforts to ethically source a key battery metal face headwinds that could make it more expensive for automakers to go electric.
“If, as proposed by the European Commission, due diligence on cobalt supply chain will be mandatory for batteries sold in the EU markets in the near future, the demand for responsibly sourced cobalt will increase rapidly,” the study prepared by the EU’s Joint Research Centre said.
But those “ambitious requirements might currently be too difficult,” according to an assessment prepared by researchers advising the European Commission. The report, which will be published by Elsevier Ltd.’s Resources Policy journal in June, suggests a tightening market for responsibly-sourced cobalt.
By 2030, EU economies need to secure more than 64,000 tons of ethically-sourced cobalt beyond existing supply-chain constraints, a volume of metal worth around $3.2 billion at current prices, to fuel the transition to electric vehicles. The run on the metal’s price is prompting mining companies to seek new reserves from Australia to the deep sea.