The CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, Benedikt Sobotka, was one of the keynote speakers at a recent Industry 4.0 summit held in Tokyo on the topic of ‘Preparing for the Energy Transition’. The commodities summit was hosted by a partnership between the Financial Times and Nikkei, and featured a number of world-renowned industry leaders including JOGMEC, Rio Tinto, METI, and Trafigura. The speech from ERG focused on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the key role of metals suppliers in driving this forward.
A Sustainable Vision
Sobotka’s speech discussed the vision of Eurasian Resources Group to source and supply a number of key materials to the global battery sector using sustainable and responsible practices. At present, approximately one quarter of the world’s cobalt supply comes from the artisanal mining sector, which is known to make use of child labour within these smaller-scale mines. Cobalt is widely used within the electric vehicle battery industry.
ERG recognised the importance of continuing to increase production and therefore the availability of electric vehicles, while ensuring that key materials were being sourced and mined without the use of child labour. Sobotka further acknowledged that there are various challenges facing the batteries industry and outlined strategies for adhering to global and regional regulations and environmental and social norms, as well as curbing pollution.
Cobalt is key for the continued production of electric vehicles, said Sobotka, emphasising the need for more companies to follow the lead of ERG in terms of sourcing cobalt sustainably and responsibly. The ERG CEO called for EV manufacturers to commit to responsible sourcing practices, and pointed out that multi-billion dollar investments and long-term planning were essential for maintaining a sustainable industry.
The Clean Cobalt Initiative
Another strategy outlined by the ERG CEO was the ERG Clean Cobalt Framework, which is already being implemented starting from Metalkol RTR, the Group’s Democratic Republic of the Congo operation. Through the Clean Cobalt Framework, ERG is working to guarantee that cobalt is sourced responsibly and sustainably. The DRC operation is a reprocessing facility for historic copper and cobalt tailings from previous mining operations. At full capacity, Metalkol RTR will be able to produce enough material to build over three million electric vehicles per year, producing 24,000 tonnes per year of cobalt and 120,000 tonnes per year of copper.
The Japanese Market
The Japanese market is one of the key growth drivers for ERG, which produces cobalt for a variety of firms and industries in the country. These include battery makers and producers of battery materials, magnet manufacturers, producers of catalyst and other chemicals, speciality steel producers, and electronics firms, many of which supply the automotive industry. ERG also supplies high-carbon ferrochrome and other ferroalloys to some of the largest producers of stainless steel in Japan. ERG’s Chairman of the Board Dr Alexander Machkevitch called Japan an “economic powerhouse” when commenting on ERG’s participation at the Tokyo summit, thanking partners in Japan on behalf of ERG for their input and support.
About Eurasian Resources Group
Eurasian Resources Group is a world leader for the supply of diversified natural resources. The Group has presence on four continents over 15 countries, with more than 85,000 people working for ERG. The integrated operations of ERG include mining, energy, processing, logistics and marketing. In addition to core business, development projects have been implemented by ERG in several African nations, including fluorspar, thermal coal, bauxite, platinum and manganese. The Group is a leader in the Kazakhstan metals and mining industry, it is a leading supplier of high-carbon ferrochrome by chrome content globally, and a large supplier of other materials such as aluminium, iron ore and thermal coal.
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