Mining giant Glencore is investing in the battery start-up Britishvolt and its construction of a gigafactory to support the UK’s car industry transition to electrical vehicles.
As part of the partnership, Glencore will also supply cobalt, one of the key raw materials used in electric batteries, the Financial Times reported.
As the biggest producer of cobalt globally, the FTSE 100 company will provide Britishvolt with 30 per cent of the metal’s supply from 2024 to 2030.
Britishvolt’s £2.6bn electric car battery plant is currently under construction in Northumberland in the northeast of England. Planning permission was granted in early July.
The factory will initially employ 1,000 people, increasing threefold when operating at full capacity.
The 235-acre operation will support the production of electric cars at scale domestically by providing infrastructure and battery supplies. It will help to meet the government’s carbon reduction targets and transition to electric cars with the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030.
The gigafactory will be operational by 2023, says the start-up, and produce 300,000 batteries for EVs a year by 2027.
“From Britishvolt’s perspective this is a major milestone, securing responsibly produced raw materials to help de-risk the project,” Orral Nadjari, Britishvolt’s chief executive and founder told the FT.
“If you look at global cobalt production two players stand out Glencore and the Chinese.”
Glencore’s strategic backing is the first high profile endorsement for Britishvolt’s ambitious gigafactory venture.
The mining tycoon already supplies metal for BMW and Tesla from its mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Australia.
Britishvolt could go public by the end of the second quarter next year. It had been eyeing a SPAC deal in the United States but is now considering a London listing.