Apple is in talks to buy stocks of cobalt to ensure long-term battery supplies for its iPhones and iPads.
Cobalt is a critical ingredient in the design and manufacture of lithium-ion batteries, and the rapid growth in the number of electric cars is expected to squeeze supply.
A source has told Bloomberg Apple is seeking contracts to buy several thousand metric tons of cobalt over a five-year period.
Possible future shortage
End-users normally leave the supply of such components to their battery suppliers, but Apple is clearly concerned about a possible future shortage of cobalt.
Other companies such as Samsung, BMW and VW are also racing to secure supplies, according to the report.
Mining giant Glencore has named Apple as one of several companies it is talking to about future supplies.
Australian Mines has just agreed a A$5bn ($3.9bn) deal for cobalt and nickel with South Korean refiner SK Innovation, which has agreed to buy all the company’s output for up to 13 years, according to a filing.
Cobalt prices have risen three-fold in the past 18 months to more than $80,000 per metric tonne.