US Blames China’s CMOC for Predatory Tactics Behind Cobalt Glut – by Michael J. Kavanagh (Bloomberg News – May 14, 2024)

(Bloomberg) — China’s CMOC Group Ltd. is being accused by a top US official of using “predatory” tactics to depress prices of a key battery metal by flooding the market with cobalt from Democratic Republic of Congo mines.

“What we’re seeing now, I feel, is a variation of predatory pricing,” Jose Fernandez, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, said Monday at a conference in New York sponsored by the Cobalt Institute industry group.

His comments come as the US seeks to loosen China’s dominance of metals viewed as critical for supporting the energy transition from fossil fuels. Cobalt is a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries and is also used in aerospace and defense industries. Cobalt is trading at its lowest price since 2019, complicating plans by Western companies to build out infrastructure for mining and refining to challenge China’s control.

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