Katanga Mining Resumes Cobalt Exports from DRC

- April 15th, 2019

Last November, the company suspended cobalt exports and sales after finding high levels of uranium in the ore.

Katanga Mining (TSX:KAT) has resumed the sale and export of limited quantities of cobalt from its Kamoto mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the company said on Monday (April 15).

Last November, Kamoto Copper Company suspended cobalt exports and sales after finding levels of uranium that exceeded the acceptable amount for export through main African ports. Kamoto Copper Company is 75 percent owned by Katanga Mining and 25 percent owned by state miner Gécamines.

Since January, Katanga has produced 930 tonnes of contained cobalt that complies with applicable regulations — about 22.5 percent of total production of contained cobalt year-to-date. Analysts expect the market impact to be limited until larger volumes can be exported.

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Cobalt is a key element in the lithium-ion batteries used to power electric cars.

Katanga said in a press release that it will continue to implement interim operational solutions while it processes its proposed US$25 million ion exchange system to remove the uranium found in its product.

In January, the DRC minister of mines raised some technical concerns and requested that the company suspend the ion exchange plant project until further notice.

Once authorization is received and a feasibility study is completed, commissioning of the ion exchange plant is expected to start in Q4 2019.

Katanga Mining, which is majority owned by top cobalt producer Glencore (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF), forecasts cobalt production guidance to remain unchanged at 26,000 tonnes.

Glencore’s cobalt output reached 42,200 tonnes in 2018, with guidance for 2019 set at 57,000 tonnes.

On Monday, shares of Katanga Mining were up 1.08 percent, closing at C$0.47. The company is down 6 percent year-to-date and 72.19 percent year-on-year.

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

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