Glencore Plans to Shut Giant Cobalt and Copper Mine in Congo – by Thomas Biesheuvel and William Clowes (Bloomberg News – August 6, 2019)

Glencore Plc is planning to halt production at one of the world’s biggest cobalt mines after prices for the battery metal collapsed and costs at the project increased, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The announcement that Glencore will close its Mutanda mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo is expected to come as the company lays out an overhaul of its key African copper and cobalt business when it releases first-half results on Wednesday.

It would be another setback for Glencore, which has been dogged by operational problems, legal challenges and a rift with Congo’s government over a new mining code.

Mutanda will stop producing at the end of this year and be put on so-called care and maintenance, according to the person who asked not to be identified as the plans haven’t been made public. It was already expected that the mine would produce half as much copper this year after it mined more complicated ores that raised costs.

The Financial Times earlier reported Glencore’s plans to shutter the mine. “The mine is no longer economically viable over the long-term,” Glencore said in a letter to employees at the mine.

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