Billionaire Gertler Buys Royalty Rights in Congo Cobalt Project – by Michael Kavanagh and William Clowes (Bloomberg News – November 17, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — A company controlled by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, who is under U.S. sanctions for alleged corruption, bought rights from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s state mining company to royalties from one of the world’s largest cobalt projects.

While the contract was published by the mining company Gecamines in October, it was signed in June 2017 — six months before the U.S. government blacklisted the businessman for “opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals” in Congo.

Gertler has never been charged with a crime and denies any wrongdoing, and he’s hired a number of lawyers in the U.S. to fight the sanctions. The previously unreported royalty stream relates to Eurasian Resources Group Sarl’s Metalkol project and means Gertler’s companies are entitled to a share of revenue from three of the biggest cobalt mines globally.

The 2017 contract adds to similar deals that Gertler companies previously struck with Gecamines at Glencore Plc’s two giant projects in the central African country.

A byproduct of copper mining, cobalt is an essential ingredient in the lithium ion batteries that power electric vehicles and almost three-quarters of the metal is sourced from Congo.

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