This Morning in Metals: Companies launch solution for end-to-end cobalt traceability

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This morning in metals news: several companies have collaborated on a solution that aims to allow for end-to-end cobalt traceability; meanwhile, the Associated General Contractors of America said rising materials prices threaten the economic recovery; and, lastly, the US, Canada and Mexico issued a trilateral statement on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

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Companies collaborate on cobalt traceability solution

cobalt

Chris Titze Imaging/Adobe Stock

Several companies have collaborated to launch a pilot solution, dubbed ReISource, that will allow for “end-to-end cobalt traceability.”

A majority of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ethical concerns regarding labor conditions for cobalt miners in the country (including allegations of the use of child labor) have prompted some companies to act in an effort to shine a light on the supply chain, from mine to end use.

Glencore is teaming up with CMOC, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) and battery material supplier Umicore.

“Tested in real operating conditions, from upstream cobalt production facilities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to downstream electric vehicle production sites, the pilot will run until the end of 2021, with the roll-out of the final solution expected in 2022,” Glencore said in a release.

Recently, MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns delved into the DRC government’s effort to clean up the artisanal mining sector (albeit with other motives, too).

AGC: rising prices threaten recovery

In a statement last week, the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America said rising materials prices and supply chain disruptions are threatening the nation’s economic recovery.

“The cost of goods and services used in construction accelerated further in April as more items logged double-digit increases over the past year, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data released today,” AGC of America said last week. “Meanwhile, nonresidential contractors struggled with delays in receiving materials and intensifying competition that limited their ability to pass on higher costs.”

The industry group also called for the Biden administration to roll back tariffs and quotas on imported construction materials.

US, Mexico, Canada issue statement on USMCA

Former President Donald Trump’s administration negotiated the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which serves as the successor to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The deal went into effect July 1, 2020. Less than a year later, the parties convened for the first meeting of the USMCA Free Trade Commission.

“The Parties recognize that trade policies should foster broad-based and equitable growth, spur innovation, protect our shared environment, and have a positive impact on people from all walks of life,” the countries said in a trilateral statement this week. “To accomplish this, the United States, Mexico, and Canada recommit to fully implementing, enforcing, and fulfilling the Agreement’s terms and high standards throughout the life of the USMCA.”

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