Katanga Mining has announced that it has resumed the export and sale of cobalt from its DRC subsidiary, Kamoto Copper Company (KCC).
The export and sale is for a limited quantity of cobalt that complies with both international and local Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) transport regulations with respect to the levels of uranium.
In Q4 2018, Katanga announced that KCC had temporarily suspended the export and sale of cobalt due to the presence of uranium detected in the cobalt hydroxide at levels that exceed the acceptable limit allowed for export of the product through main African ports to customers. The low levels of radioactivity detected in the uranium to date do not present a health and safety risk.
Meanwhile KCC, together with Katanga and KCC’s 25% shareholder, DRC state-owned La Générale des Carrières et des Mines (Gécamines), have been working with the DRC government’s Ministry of Mines and the Congolese Atomic Energy Agency (CGEA) on a long-term technical solution in the form of an ion exchange plant.
Alternative interim solutions
KCC has also been exploring various alternative interim solutions, both operational and regulatory, to recommence the export and sale of cobalt.
Through interim operational solutions, KCC has produced approximately 930 tonnes of contained cobalt that complies with applicable regulations since January 2019. This represents approximately 22.5% of the total production of contained cobalt since January 2019.
As confirmed by the competent DRC authorities, KCC will resume the export of its cobalt hydroxide complying with the applicable regulations with immediate effect. Such resumption of exports remains subject to the regular DRC export procedures, which include the continued monitoring by CGEA and by the relevant mining authorities.
KCC will continue to focus on implementing the interim operational solutions while it processes the ion exchange plant.