Congo Seeks More Control of the Cobalt Market

A Cobalt mine in Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo will seek greater control of the global cobalt market by engaging directly with car and battery manufacturers, according to its largest state-owned mining company.

“I find it scandalous that when cobalt is discussed, and the explosion of electric vehicles, only the traders and consumers are referenced and Congo and Gecamines are not cited. 

“The market seems to think that “the future of cobalt is in the hands of Glencore, Trafigura and CMOC but not the Congo or Gecamines. We legitimately want to control the cobalt market because it is ours,”  Gecamines Chairman Albert Yuma said in an interview in Cape Town.

Congo accounts for about two-thirds of global cobalt supply and spot prices for the metal more than doubled on the London Metal Exchange last year. The country isn’t benefiting from rallying copper and cobalt prices and plans to renegotiate partnerships with international mining companies, Yuma said.

Gecamines has already held discussion with one large Chinese battery producer about establishing a joint venture to develop the state-owned miner’s cobalt concessions, Yuma said. It is also planning discussions with a Chinese car manufacturer, he added, declining to identify either company.

Consumers want to secure, stable, and long-term supply and, unlike traders, don’t speculate on price, he said.

Amaka E. Nliam