BMW Group, BASF SE, Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics launch cross-industry project to enhance sustainable cobalt mining.

Munich, 29 November 2018: As part of a cross-industry
initiative, the companies BMW Group, BASF SE, Samsung SDI and Samsung
Electronics have launched a joint cobalt pilot project in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. A contract to this effect between
the companies, together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, will aim to improve
artisanal mining working conditions, as well as living conditions for
surrounding communities. The scope of the project will span over one
pilot mine within the next three years, and the partners will not
operate the mine.

This fully privately financed project seeks to pilot an approach to
address challenges in artisanal mining. As it is limited to one pilot
mine site and the surrounding community, it seeks to contribute to
identifying workable solutions that lead to better working conditions
at the mine site. If proven effective, these measures could then be
scaled up to other legal artisanal mine sites and enhance systemic
challenges in the longer run.

Cobalt is a key component in the production of batteries for the
automotive and electronics industries. The world’s largest known
reserves of this raw material are found in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo. Industrial mining accounts for approximately 80-85% of
Congolese cobalt production, with artisanal mining operations
producing the remaining 15-20%. Currently, companies are facing
challenges in the areas of environment, health and safety, and human
rights when cobalt is extracted through artisanal mining.

This is the first time partners from automotive, chemical and
consumer electronics industries have come together in a project on the
ground to address the challenges of artisanal cobalt mining in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. This pilot project builds on a
feasibility study jointly conducted by GIZ and BMW Group. Insights
gained from visits to several artisanal mines, stakeholder interviews
and surveys of miners and community members were instrumental in
shaping this project approach.

This project also contributes to the goals of global initiatives,
such as the Global Battery Alliance (GBA), to foster sustainable
supply chains.