China’s Wanbao Mining produced the first batch of cobalt hydroxide – a chemical used in batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) – from its Pumpi mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
According to a statement by Wanbao, a subsidiary of state-owned Chinese military supplier Norinco, the Pumpi copper-cobalt project in Kolwezi has now been fully commissioned following the production of the first copper cathodes six months ago.
Prices for cobalt CBD0 have gained some 65% so far in 2021, hitting two-year highs of about USD53 000 a tonne on resurgent EV demand in China and Europe.
Wanbao holds a 75% stake in Pumpi. Pumpi is designed to produce about 5 000 tonnes of cobalt hydroxide per year on a metal content basis. Morocco’s Managem MNG.CS holds 20% shares in Wanbao, and the DRC government 5%.