Cobalt and COVID-19: Who’s Reacting and How?

- March 25th, 2020

Check out all of INN’s cobalt-focused COVID-19 coverage, plus responses to the outbreak from both major and junior cobalt companies.

The coronavirus outbreak continues to dominate headlines around the world as the entire globe stands together to fight the pandemic. 

For commodities the impact has been diverse, with battery metals investors watching closely to see how supply chains could be disrupted and for how long.

To help investors track what’s happening in the market, we’ve gathered our cobalt-focused COVID-19 coverage below and listed responses from both major and junior cobalt companies. Read on to learn what they’ve done or said so far, and scroll down to see more of our COVID-19 coverage.

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All news and data were current as of March 25, 2020. This article will be updated as new information becomes available — if you know of a cobalt company that has issued a response to COVID-19 but is not listed, please email editorial@investingnews.com

Cobalt and COVID-19: INN coverage

Cobalt and COVID-19: Major companies

Glencore (LSE:GLEN) — To date, there have been no material disruptions at Glencore’s operating assets or within its supply chain, the company said on March 20. Glencore continues to closely monitor and respond to events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and has introduced a number of additional precautionary measures across its offices and industrial assets.

The top producer’s cobalt output comes primarily from its Katanga and Mutanda mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and from its nickel operations in Australia and Canada, where it mines cobalt as a by-product.

Chemaf — Privately owned Chemaf confirmed the shutdown of its mines in the DRC’s Haut-Katanga province after the country set a two day lockdown on the copper– and cobalt-mining province.

In Haut-Katanga, Chemaf operates Etoile, one of the largest cobalt mines in the world, and Mufunta. The company also has other two projects, Luisha and Mutoshi.

Vale (NYSE:VALE) — Brazilian miner Vale will place its Voisey’s Bay mine in Newfoundland on care and maintenance for four weeks to protect nearby indigenous communities from the virus outbreak, the company said on March 16. Last year, cobalt production at the mine was 1,608 tonnes, while copper concentrate output was around 25,000 tonnes.

Vale has not informed investors of any disruptions at its Sudbury, Thompson or VNC operations, which respectively produced a total of 495 tonnes, 80 tonnes and 1,703 tonnes of cobalt last year.

China Molybdenum (OTC Pink:CMCLF,HKEX:3993) — The operator of the giant Tenke Fungurume mine in the DRC said on March 23 that it would place its copper-cobalt mine into isolation starting at noon on March 24, according to Reuters.

Eurasian Resource Group — Eurasian Resources Group implemented global preventive measures to ensure the smooth running of operations and the safety of its people amid the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the company said on March 19.

In Africa, aside from preventive measures, the company said plans are currently being drawn up to establish a quarantine area should the need arise. Eurasian Resources Group operates the Metalkol Roan tailings reclamation copper-cobalt project in the DRC, which is set to become one of the world’s leading cobalt producers and one of the largest suppliers of cobalt to China, according to the company.

Cobalt and COVID-19: Junior companies

First Cobalt (TSXV:FCC,OTCQX:FTSSF) — In light of recent market developments, First Cobalt is closely monitoring conditions and their potential impact on the economy, the company said on March 17. First Cobalt has implemented modified work practices, but work continues on its strategic plan with minimal impact on its schedule.

“Market volatility and economic uncertainty due to COVID-19 have put downward pressure on commodities and cast uncertainty over short term global economic activity,” First Cobalt President and CEO Trent Mell said. “The EV revolution is a generational megatrend that will continue to change the way we move around, regardless of short term market fluctuations.”

First Cobalt continues to work on a prefeasibility study for a restart of the First Cobalt refinery and a definitive feasibility study for an expansion scenario. Offtake discussions are underway, with several automotive companies interested in North American supply of battery-grade cobalt, the company said.

Jervois Mining (ASX:JRV,TSXV:JRV,OTCQB:JRVMF) — Dual-listed Jervois Mining said it is reviewing its ICO project plans due to the impact of the coronavirus, and confirmed that the public release of the ICO bankable feasibility study will be delayed.

“ICO offtake negotiations have been impacted by COVID-19, particularly in Japan and South Korea where travel has been restricted to date in 2020,” the company said in a March 20 statement. “Jervois continues to prepare and dispatch physical concentrate samples to additional markets, and is engaging with customers remotely.”

The company has also suspended its activities in Uganda in response to COVID-19, with no fixed remobilization date yet.

Clean TeQ Holdings (ASX:CLQ,TSX:CLQ,OTCQX:CTEQF) — At this time, there have not been any material impacts on Clean TeQ Holdings’ ongoing operations, the company said on March 20.

Clean TeQ’s execution plan for Sunrise remains on schedule to conclude at the end of Q2, including an updated capital cost estimate for the project. The Sunrise project, located in New South Wales, is one of the largest cobalt deposits outside of Africa.

More COVID-19 coverage from INN

Click the links below for more of INN’s commodity-specific coverage of COVID-19:

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: First Cobalt is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

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