AutosIs BMW embroiled in controversy due to a cobalt supplier in Morocco? An investigation is in progress

Is BMW embroiled in controversy due to a cobalt supplier in Morocco? An investigation is in progress

Is BMW embroiled in controversy due to a cobalt supplier in Morocco? An investigation is in progress
Images source: © Getty Images | NurPhoto

7:31 PM EST, November 14, 2023

Information obtained by German journalists suggests that the cobalt mine in Morocco, a source of materials for BMW's electric vehicles, is grappling with significant issues, primarily regarding environmental protection.

Journalists from "Norddeutscher Rundfunk" and "Süddeutsche Zeitung" allege that the Moroccan mining company, Managem, operating in the Bou Azzer mine, is discharging large volumes of toxic arsenic into the environment. This was confirmed by water samples collected near the mine, which showed an arsenic concentration of 18 thousand micrograms per liter, far exceeding the World Health Organisation's recommended threshold of 10 micrograms. Even 6.2 miles away from the mine, the threshold values were exceeded by 40 times.

According to reports by "Deutsche Welle", staff members at the Moroccan cobalt factory have also accused the company of failing to comply with international worker protection standards and suppressing trade unions.

This situation presents a challenge for BMW, who in 2020, signed a contract worth 100 million euros to procure cobalt from this mine for producing electric vehicles. Importantly, beginning January 2023, German companies are mandated to ensure adherence to international standards for human rights and environmental protection throughout their supply chain.

"We take potential violations seriously and will thoroughly investigate them. This also applies to the Bou Azzer mine operated by our supplier, Managem," stated representatives of the German automaker BMW. Back at the receiving end, Managem rejected all accusations. The Moroccan royal family holds primary ownership of this company, which recently inked a contract with Renault.

Related content