Massive expansions won’t hurt cobalt price as supply shifts to oligopoly – report – by Staff ( – August 16, 2021)

Cobalt hydroxide (feedstock material generally produced at mines as part of the primary processing of ores) has been on a tear, up 15% in July to $46,375 a tonne (midpoint 100% Co basis CIF Asia) bringing gains so far this year to 64%, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

China Molybdenum announced last week it will invest just over $2.5 billion to double copper and cobalt production at its giant Tenke Fungurume mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which it bought from Freeport McMoRan five years ago.

That announcement comes on the heels of China Moly’s acquisition of another Freeport property in the Congo, Kisanfu, for $550 million in December.

China Moly said trial production for a separate expansion at Tenke Fungurume has already started and by 2023 expects cobalt production at the mine to double to some 34,000 tonnes per year.

In the copper world, that’s the equivalent of building one and a half Escondidas in two years.

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