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Samsung getting ready to recycle cobalt from phones and cars

Global – Battery supplier Samsung SDI Co. says it will recycle cobalt from used mobile phones in light of ongoing price surges.

Samsung SDI, an affiliate of Samsung Electronics Co., intends to ‘mine’ post-consumer phones for cobalt now supplies are getting scarce. Down the line, it may look to electric car batteries as well, Bloomberg has reported.

This is not an unsurprising move, seeing as cobalt prices went through the roof last year, ending at at US$ 75,500 per tonne on the London Metal Exchage. This represents a 129% surge compared to 2016.

Rapidly intensifying demand from battery and tech companies is said to be a major driver. Recovering minerals from depleted batteries could add an estimated 25 000 tonnes of supply by 2025.

In order to become self-sufficient, Samsung plans to buy a stake in a dcompany with recycling technology and sign a deal to ensure ‘long-term’ cobalt supplies. Both Belgium-based Umicore and US firm American Manganese Inc. have been named as potential recycling partners.

Previously, Samsung had announced it is ‘ready’ to produce electric vehicle batteries with nickel content above 90%, and only 5% cobalt.

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