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Britishvolt secures ‘long-term’ Glencore cobalt supply deal

A firm behind plans for an 8000-job vehicle battery making factory has agreed a supply deal with a mining giant.

Britishvolt says it has secured a “long-term strategic partnership” with Glencore.

Bosses say the alliance will see Glencore provide cobalt for use in the production of Britishvolt’s lithium-ion batteries.

They say the multinational firm has also made an undisclosed investment into Britishvolt’s venture, adding its association will support the latter’s efforts around recycling and use of recycled content.

The deal comes after Britishvolt received approval to build what it describes as the UK’s first gigaplant on a former coal yard at the old Blyth power station site, in Cambois, Northumberland.

Officials say the development, valued at £2.6 billion, has the potential to create 3000 direct jobs and up to 5000 supply chain posts.

When fully operational, the factory is tipped to have capacity to make 300,000 batteries every year for the electric vehicle market.

Reacting to its Glencore deal, Orral Nadjari, Britishvolt chief executive and founder, said: “This is a huge step in the right direction as we look to accelerate the transition to a low carbon society.

“By partnering with Glencore, we are locking in supply and de-risking the project.

“Cobalt is a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries and knowing that we are being supplied with responsibly produced cobalt is a signal to the market that we are living by our values.”

David Brocas, Glencore’s head cobalt trader, added: “The UK has a unique legacy of automotive innovation and Britishvolt’s ambition to power the next generation of mobility will add to this rich history.”

Previously described as the “the largest industrial investment in the North East since Nissan’s arrival in 1984”, Britishvolt says its plant – which could begin producing lithium-ion batteries by the end of 2023 – will stand as a “key pillar” in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ten-point plan for the UK’s green recovery.