Congo poll leaves uncertainty for miners at heart of EV revolution – by Joe Bavier (Reuters U.S. – January 13, 2019)

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The surprise outcome of Congo’s election – a vote meant to bring closure to years of turmoil under President Joseph Kabila – has done little to ease uncertainty for miners and investors in a country crucial to the electric vehicle revolution.

Democratic Republic of Congo is the world’s leading miner of cobalt, a mineral used in electric car batteries which has seen a surge in demand in recent years, with mines run by firms including Glencore (GLEN.L) and China Molybdenum (603993.SS).

Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi, an unknown quantity for mining executives, was declared the winner of last month’s chaotic vote on Thursday, defeating Kabila’s chosen successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

The stakes for mining firms are high. In a study last year, McKinsey forecast a 60 percent increase in demand for cobalt by 2025, and cited uncertainty in Congolese government policy as one of the major risks to supply.

“It could be that, as a mining sector, we’re worse off than when we were under Kabila,” said one mining operator, who asked not to be identified. “There may be some improvements, but we’re not counting on it.”

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