For Samsung and Apple, cobalt is an increasingly precious metal

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Samsung has joined Apple in taking an unprecedented step to secure cobalt supplies for its next-generation smartphones. Samsung C&T, one of the many arms of the Samsung conglomerate, is reportedly negotiating directly with a mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo to secure cobalt.

The element is an important component in the rechargeable batteries used in smartphones, but increasing competition -- particularly from electric car manufacturers --...

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