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SnapshotsAug 7, 2019 | 22:08 GMT
Congo: Why the Shutdown of One Cobalt Mine Matters
British-Swiss mining powerhouse Glencore has announced that it will shut down cobalt and copper production from its Mutanda mining operation in the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by the end of the year. The company expects the shutdown to last at least two years, although, after that amount of time, the benefits of restarting operations could be insufficient to justify a restart. In 2018, besides about 200,000 metric tons of copper, the mine produced just over 27,000 metric tons of cobalt -- around 20 percent of total global production of the strategic metal.
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AssessmentsApr 12, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi meet in Washington on April 3, 2019.
Washington Throws Its Conditional Support Behind the Congo's New Leader
The United States is turning over a new leaf with a troubled African giant. New Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi visited Washington last week in a sign that his hosts are willing to reset relations after a controversial election. The move makes sense: For Washington, Tshisekedi's election marks a potential turning point in the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an important country that has abundant mineral resources, as well as profound security and economic challenges. But despite enthusiastic talk of bolstering ties between Washington and the new administration, the elephant in the room remains former President Joseph Kabila, who could yet scuttle Tshisekedi's plans for a new Congo.
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SnapshotsJun 15, 2018 | 19:13 GMT
Congo: Kabila's Government Flexes Its Power Over the Cobalt Market
After implementing the Democratic Republic of the Congo's demanding new mining regulations on June 9, President Joseph Kabila's government has shown little interest in bending to mining companies' requests or suggestions. After all, Kabila's country has the upper hand, buoyed by continued Chinese investments, a lack of real competitors in the cobalt markets and a substantial share of other strategic metals like copper. The Congolese government will likely be able to force mining companies and manufacturers operating in the country to comply with its increasingly onerous demands -- at least until alternative markets and technologies come online, which will take at least three years to emerge and more to fully diversify.
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SnapshotsMay 2, 2018 | 22:07 GMT
A map shows sub-Saharan Africa
Congo: Problems for Miner of Copper and Cobalt Only Multiply
With the rapid rise in the prices of certain minerals and metals, commodity-rich nations in Africa are looking to capture a greater share of this bonanza. To take advantage of the growing demand for key metals such as cobalt and vanadium, developing countries can either open up mining operations to foreign direct investment or try to collect more revenue from their raw materials. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is taking the second approach, which is adding to the problems facing Glencore PLC, one of the country's larger mining operators.
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AssessmentsMar 4, 2018 | 14:23 GMT
A worker at a copper and cobalt mine near Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, May 23, 2016.
The Congo Is Set to Butt Heads With Mining Firms Over Cobalt
For parents in much of the world, the beginning of December is a harbinger for the scramble to secure the year's hottest game or electronic gadget ahead of the holidays. And as battery technology continues to improve and costs decline, it has touched off another scramble of its own, as the manufacturers of batteries for everything from smartphones to electric vehicles chase after raw materials like cobalt, an invaluable component in such objects. Right at the center of this frenzy is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which holds roughly 50 percent of the world's cobalt reserves. But with President Joseph Kabila and his government looking to grab a greater share of mineral revenue while avoiding any additional international pressure that could threaten Kabila's hold on power, Kinshasa and international mining companies might soon find themselves on a collision course.
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AssessmentsJan 8, 2018 | 08:00 GMT
As a key component in lithium-ion batteries, cobalt has become an important commodity in the growing electronics and electric vehicle markets.
Cobalt: A Metal Poised to Peak
As the demand for electric vehicles increases over the coming decades, so, too, will the demand -- and the price -- for the raw materials required to produce them. Increased demand for elements such as lithium and cobalt will lead to potential supply bottlenecks over the course of the next several years. And while the media has touted the potential of lithium -- as the eponymous component of lithium-ion batteries -- to be the raw material that powers the gradual transition away from fossil fuel-reliant transportation, it has understated the significance of one element in the equation: cobalt. Lithium-ion batteries require lithium, yes, but they also require something else. Under the constraints of present technology, that something is more often than not cobalt.
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