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Mining firm joins cobalt association as it reveals plans to double output in DRC

Mon, 08/16/2021 - 11:11 -- paul Crompton

Metals mining firm China Molybdenum is set to double production of copper and cobalt at its mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The company will spend around $2.51 billion to boost production at its 1,500-square-metre Tenke Fungurume mine.

The mine mainly produces copper cathode and cobalt hydroxide— producing 177,956 tonnes of copper and 16,098 tonnes of cobalt in 2019.

The firm said, in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the investment would pay for the building of three ore production lines that will boost average annual copper output at the mine by 200,000 tonnes and increase cobalt output by 17,000 tonnes.

The project to add copper cathode and cobalt hydroxide is expected to be finished in 2023.

London Metal Exchange prices for 6 August stated copper was around $9,500 per tonne for copper and cobalt was around $52,000 per tonne.

Cobalt alliance

In June, China Molybdenum— and its Geneva-based trading arm IXM— joined the Fair Cobalt Alliance to assist in the “professionalisation” of the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) cobalt sector.

The move highlights the firms’ commitment to responsible sourcing and desire to contribute to the economic development of the copper-cobalt belt. 

China Molybdenum is the second largest cobalt producer in the world.

The Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA) is an action platform that brings together actors across the cobalt supply chain to support ASM site management, prevent child labour, and increase wages for those ASM miners.

Julie Liang, director of CMOC's Sustainability Executive Committee, said the company was proud to be supporting the work of the FCA, which considers the complex issues to address such as poverty-driven child labour and working conditions at ASM sites

She said: “We are committed to ensuring all mineral production meets the highest standards.

“ASM sits outside of our own cobalt supply chain but we recognize that ASM, and those communities reliant on it, should not be neglected.”

The FCA’s membership includes EV-manufacturers Tesla, Volvo Cars and Sono Motors; electronics manufacturers, Fairphone, Signify, and Shift; mining and metals companies, Glencore and Huayou Cobalt; and battery manufacturers, Amperex Technology Limited. 

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