Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 February 2010 – Kazakh miner ENRC “’ which has acquired a cobalt and copper processing plant in Zambia “’ says it expects cobalt prices to rise in 2010 and 2011 as demand from the international battery industry improves.
Chambishi Metals Plc head Derek Webbstock told Reuters that although rising cobalt output in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would temper price gains, this effect would be offset by higher demand for the metal by makers of batteries for motor vehicles.
ENRC last week bought Enya Holdings, which has a 90% stake in Chambishi and 100% shares in Comit Resources of Dubai “’ the marketing and sales company that has historically handled Chambishi’s copper and cobalt sales.
The company said that after the acquisition of Enya Holdings and its Dubai-based marketing operation last week, it hoped to cut costs by using the Chambishi plant in Zambia to process copper and cobalt produced in the DRC, where it also bought a mine last year.
ENRC also agreed to buy a copper and cobalt processing plant in Zambia for US $300 million (R2.25 billion), dovetailing with last year’s purchase of a miner in neighbouring DRC. It hopes to cut costs by using the Chambishi plant in Zambia to process copper and cobalt produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The firm said it planned to invest US$80 million (R600 million) in Chambishi by 2011 to upgrade its facilities, which would boost annual capacity to 55 000t of copper cathode “’ more than twice its current level of 25 000t. The combined operation was expected to produce 130 000t of copper cathode a year and 12 000t of cobalt-contained metal salts and concentrates by 2012, it added.
“There is a lot of new production of cobalt by miners in the DRC and we need to see how that will affect the price, but we still see potential growth in demand from the battery industry,” said Webbstock.