The battery technology firm has also secured an undisclosed investment from Glencore to help develop its 30GWh battery Gigafactory in the UK


Britishvolt is planning to build a 30GWh battery gigafactory in Blyth, Northumberland. (Credit: Britishvolt)

Glencore and UK-based lithium-ion battery manufacturer Britishvolt have signed a long-term partnership for the supply of responsibly sourced cobalt to the latter.

The Switzerland-based commodity trading and mining company has also made an undisclosed investment in the battery technology firm.

According to Britishvolt, the investment is further endorsement of its planned £2.6bn Gigaplant project in the UK.

The partnership with Glencore is said to be an important milestone for the UK firm in its pursuit to help vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with their electrification plans.

Britishvolt said that securing a key battery ingredient from the Glencore cobalt brands will substantially derisk its operation by gaining long-term security of supply across its business.

Glencore cobalt trader head David Brocas said: “Our commitment to support our partners in meeting their requirements for essential battery ingredients is key to underpinning long-term supply agreements. As the mobility and energy transition accelerates, so does future demand for battery metals such as cobalt, copper and nickel.

“Glencore is already a leading producer and supplier of these metals, helping to underpin our ambition of achieving net zero total emissions by 2050.”

In late 2020, Britishvolt disclosed plans to build its battery gigafactory in Blyth, Northumberland. The Gigaplant project will be developed in three phases, with each of 10GWh capacity.

The company is expected to fully complete the 30GWh project by end-2027. First production of lithium-ion batteries from the gigafactory is expected to be achieved by the end of 2023.

Upon reaching full capacity, the gigafactory will produce enough cells for approximately 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs per annum, which are mainly intended for the automotive sector.

Britishvolt CEO/founder Orral Nadjari said: “This is a huge step in the right direction for Britishvolt as we look to accelerate the transition to a low carbon society. By partnering with Glencore, we are locking in supply and derisking the project.

“At the very heart of our business is our core ESG Principles and Commitments. Cobalt is a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries and knowing that we are being supplied with ethically produced, low-carbon cobalt is a signal to the market that we are living by our values.

In a separate development, a subsidiary of Glencore has signed a deal with a subsidiary of Sumitomo for buying out the latter’s 12.5% stake in the Rolleston coal mine in Queensland, Australia.

Glencore currently has a stake of 75% in the coal mine, while the other partner is ICRA Rolleston with a 12.5% stake.