The Apple Inc logo is seen on the power management supply integrated circuit (IC) chip mounted in the logic board of an iPhone 6 smartphone in an arranged photograph in Bangkok, Thailand, on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook told shareholders on Feb. 13 at the company's annual meeting to expect higher dividends and stressed that succession planning is a priority. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg
The Apple logo on the power management supply integrated circuit of an iPhone. Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Apple to secure cobalt directly from miners to hedge against shortage



Apple is in talks to buy long-term supplies of cobalt directly from miners for the first time, according to people familiar with the matter, seeking to ensure it will have enough of the key battery ingredient amid industry fears of a shortage driven by the electric vehicle boom.

The iPhone maker is one of the world’s largest end users of cobalt for the batteries in its gadgets, but until now it has left the business of buying the metal to the companies that make its batteries.

The talks show that the tech giant is keen to ensure that cobalt supplies for its iPhone and iPad batteries are sufficient, with the rapid growth in battery demand for EVs threatening to create a shortage of the raw material. About a quarter of global cobalt production is used in smartphones.

Apple is seeking contracts to secure several thousand metric tonnes of cobalt a year for five years or longer, according to one of the people, declining to be named. Its first discussions on cobalt deals with miners were more than a year ago, and it may end up deciding not to go ahead with any deal, another person said.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment. Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg late last year named Apple among several companies the miner was talking to about cobalt, without giving further details.

The move means Apple will find itself in competition with car makers and battery producers to lock up cobalt supplies. Companies from BMW and Volkswagen to Samsung SDI are racing to sign multi-year cobalt contracts to ensure they have sufficient supplies of the metal to meet ambitious targets for electric vehicle production.

Australian Mines, developing the Sconi mine in Queensland state, this week agreed a cobalt and nickel supply deal with SK Innovation, South Korea’s top oil refiner, that’s worth about $3.9 billion at current prices, the Perth-based company said Wednesday.

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SK Innovation, which plans to use the raw materials at an EV battery manufacturing plant in Hungary, agreed to buy all of the project’s planned output for up to 13 years, according to the filing.

BMW is also close to securing a 10-year supply deal, the car maker's head of procurement told German daily FAZ in early February.

Cobalt is an essential ingredient in lithium-ion batteries for smartphones. While those devices use about eight grams of refined cobalt, the battery for an electric car requires over 1,000 times more. Apple has around 1.3 billion existing devices, while Apple chief executive Tim Cook has been bullish about the prospects for electric vehicles.

The price of cobalt has more than tripled in the past 18 months to trade above $80,000 a tonne. Two-thirds of supplies come from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there has never been a peaceful transition of power and child labour is still used in parts of the mining industry.

In recent years, Apple has stepped up its engagement with cobalt suppliers after the origin of the metal in its supply chain came under scrutiny from human rights groups. In a report in early 2016, Amnesty International alleged that Apple and Samsung Electronics’ Chinese suppliers were buying cobalt from mines that rely on child labour.

Last year, Apple published a list of the companies that supply the cobalt used in its batteries for the first time, and said it would not let cobalt from small-scale mines in Congo into its supply chain until it could verify that the "appropriate protections" were in place.

At a glance

- 20,000 new jobs for Emiratis over three years

- Dh300 million set aside to train 18,000 jobseekers in new skills

- Managerial jobs in government restricted to Emiratis

- Emiratis to get priority for 160 types of job in private sector

- Portion of VAT revenues will fund more graduate programmes

- 8,000 Emirati graduates to do 6-12 month replacements in public or private sector on a Dh10,000 monthly wage - 40 per cent of which will be paid by government

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

TWISTERS

Director:+Lee+Isaac+Chung

Starring:+Glen+Powell,+Daisy+Edgar-Jones,+Anthony+Ramos

Rating:+2.5/5

India cancels school-leaving examinations
The National in Davos

We are bringing you the inside story from the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos, a gathering of hundreds of world leaders, top executives and billionaires.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Australia men's Test cricket fixtures 2021/22

One-off Test v Afghanistan:
Nov 27-Dec 1: Blundstone Arena, Hobart

The Ashes v England:
Dec 8-12: 1st Test, Gabba, Brisbane
Dec 16-20: 2nd Test, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide (day/night)
Dec 26-30: 3rd Test, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Jan 5-9, 2022: 4th Test, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Jan 14-18: 5th Test, Optus Stadium, Perth

Our legal columnist

Name: Yousef Al Bahar

Advocate at Al Bahar & Associate Advocates and Legal Consultants, established in 1994

Education: Mr Al Bahar was born in 1979 and graduated in 2008 from the Judicial Institute. He took after his father, who was one of the first Emirati lawyers

FROM THE ASHES

Director: Khalid Fahad

Starring: Shaima Al Tayeb, Wafa Muhamad, Hamss Bandar

Rating: 3/5

AT A GLANCE

Windfall
An “energy profits levy” to raise about £5 billion in a year. The temporary one-off tax will hit oil and gas firms by 25 per cent on extraordinary profits. An 80 per cent investment allowance should calm Conservative nerves that the move will dent North Sea firms’ investment to save them 91p for every £1 they spend.
A universal grant
Energy bills discount, which was effectively a £200 loan, has doubled to a £400 discount on bills for all households from October that will not need to be paid back.
Targeted measures
More than eight million of the lowest income households will receive a £650 one-off payment. It will apply to households on Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Pension Credit and legacy benefits.
Separate one-off payments of £300 will go to pensioners and £150 for those receiving disability benefits.

PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES

Saturday (UAE kick-off times)

Watford v Leicester City (3.30pm)

Brighton v Arsenal (6pm)

West Ham v Wolves (8.30pm)

Bournemouth v Crystal Palace (10.45pm)

Sunday

Newcastle United v Sheffield United (5pm)

Aston Villa v Chelsea (7.15pm)

Everton v Liverpool (10pm)

Monday

Manchester City v Burnley (11pm)

Company Profile

Name: Neo Mobility
Started: February 2023
Co-founders: Abhishek Shah and Anish Garg
Based: Dubai
Industry: Logistics
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Delta Corp, Pyse Sustainability Fund, angel investors

Know before you go
  • Jebel Akhdar is a two-hour drive from Muscat airport or a six-hour drive from Dubai. It’s impossible to visit by car unless you have a 4x4. Phone ahead to the hotel to arrange a transfer.
  • If you’re driving, make sure your insurance covers Oman.
  • By air: Budget airlines Air Arabia, Flydubai and SalamAir offer direct routes to Muscat from the UAE.
  • Tourists from the Emirates (UAE nationals not included) must apply for an Omani visa online before arrival at evisa.rop.gov.om. The process typically takes several days.
  • Flash floods are probable due to the terrain and a lack of drainage. Always check the weather before venturing into any canyons or other remote areas and identify a plan of escape that includes high ground, shelter and parking where your car won’t be overtaken by sudden downpours.

 

Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Rally schedule:

Saturday: Super Special Spectator Stage – Yas Marina Circuit – start 3.30pm.
Sunday: Yas Marina Circuit Stage 1 (276.01km)
Monday: Nissan Stage 2 (287.92km)
Tuesday: Al Ain Water Stage 3 (281.38km)
Wednesday: ADNOC Stage 4 (244.49km)
Thursday: Abu Dhabi Aviation Stage 5 (218.57km) Finish: Yas Marina Circuit – 4.30pm.