Some reports are suggesting that Apple is looking to secure long-term cobalt supplies directly from miners. This is apparently in response to the company's fear that there will be a strain on cobalt supplies as electric vehicles go mainstream.
The talks will likely involve speaking and securing contracts with cobalt miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo as the country is not only the largest supplier of cobalt globally, but holds approximately 60% of cobalt reserves worldwide.
World cobalt reserves as of 2017. | Statista
The rumored negotiations are interesting in that in 2017 Apple announced that it will start treating cobalt, an important mineral in the making of its electronic devices, mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a conflict mineral amid child labor allegations. Furthermore, the iPhone maker said that, at the time, it had instructed smelters it uses to stop buying cobalt from artisanal mines that use child labour as the owner of the accused mines, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, continues to investigate the allegations.
Apple are not the first company reported to be looking to secure long term cobalt supplies. Towards the end of 2017,it was revealed that Volkswagen (VW) is also looking to secure long term cobalt supplies. VW was reported to be looking to secure supplies of cobalt for the next 10 years. Cobalt is a component in the manufacturing of rechargeable batteries.