Apple may buy cobalt directly from miners for the first time

Apple is in talks to buy long-term supplies of cobalt directly from miners for the first time, seeking to procure "several thousand" metric tons of cobalt per year for a period of at least five years, Bloomberg reports.

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The tech giant is one of the largest users of the metal. The move is designed to buffer Apple's reserves of the key lithium ion battery ingredient amid industry fears of a shortage driven by the electric vehicle boom. 

About a quarter of global cobalt production is used in smartphones. Last year Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg named Apple among several companies the miner was talking to about cobalt. Glencore engages in the production, refinement, processing, storage, transport, and marketing of commodities worldwide.