To ensure a sustainable, low-carbon, and secure supply chain for EV batteries, Britishvolt, has joined the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA). The FCA is a multistakeholder action platform committed to developing responsible and fair Artisanal mining (ASM) cobalt supply in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The FCA brings together participants from across the cobalt mineral supply chain to improve the lives of mining communities in the DRC. This is achieved through strategies which improve vital health and safety conditions at artisanal cobalt mining sites; address and remediate child labour; promote more transparent cobalt remuneration; and extend greater opportunities to local ASM communities – through fostering entrepreneurship both inside and outside the mines.
The news is in line with the world-class ESG strategy being structured by BV. Part of the ESG Principles and Commitments states: “Assessing labour, human rights and ethical procurement performance of our suppliers, seeking to co-operate with suppliers on ESG issues when necessary.”
Britishvolt believes that collective action and collaboration is essential for a successful energy transition.
Craig Woodburn, Head of ESG at Britishvolt said: “This is a great initiative to be part of. Britishvolt has a very clear and defined ambition to create one of the best-in-class ESG frameworks. By joining the FCA we are aiming to reduce environmental impact, improve working conditions for miners and support action that redirect children to school and education in the Democratic Republic of Congo. BV believes that it’s the responsibility of the entire battery industry, including manufacturers, to ensure that everyone involved is treated with respect and given the right opportunities. Collaboration is of vital importance to ensure success for all.”
The FCA website also states the importance of unity across the supply chain.
“Only by joining forces throughout the cobalt supply chain, can we address and reverse these complex negative social and environmental impacts.”
It also states that, “The FCA drives the development of fair cobalt by supporting the professionalization of ASM site management, ensuring an uptake of responsible mining practices and channeling financial investment into mine improvements, with the goal of making mines safer, minimizing environmental impact and creating decent working conditions for men and women working at the mines.”
Dr Assheton Carter, FCA’s Executive Director commented: “We welcome Britishvolt to the FCA. The business complements our growing membership and represents the breadth of stakeholders in the cobalt value chain that we are able to bring together.
“It is a bold step for a company starting out to make this commitment – we look forward to seeing how Britishvolt’s role in the FCA helps to shape its CSR strategy now and in the future.”
Britishvolt is building a battery Gigaplant site in Cambois, Northumberland. The development is a major boost for Northumberland, and indeed the country, and will bring around 3,000 direct highly-skilled jobs and another 5,000+ in the associated supply chains.
Britishvolt is on target to manufacture some of the world’s most sustainable, low carbon battery cells on the site of the former Blyth Power Station coal stocking yard located in Cambois, Northumberland.
The project will be built in phases towards total capacity by end-2027 onwards. This allows the business to keep on top of any technological advancements. First production will commence in late-2023.
Once at full capacity, the Gigaplant will have a production capability equating to approximately enough cells for around 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs per year, intended primarily for the automotive industry.
It will be the first large full cycle Gigaplant in the UK.