Congo’s Gecamines and Entreprise Generale du Cobalt sign mining deal

State mining company Gecamines headquarters. (Image courtesy of Gecamines).

Congo’s state mining company Gecamines and its subsidiary Entreprise Generale du Cobalt (EGC) have signed an agreement granting EGC exclusive mining rights to five mining areas, the firms said on Wednesday.

Created by government decree in December 2019, EGC was granted a monopoly on artisanal cobalt produced in the central African country, the world’s top producer of a critical metal key to the global energy transition.

“The provision of these 5 mining areas from Gécamines to EGC will mark the beginning of the standardization of artisanal cobalt mining and the structuring of local entrepreneurship,” Gino Buhendwa Ntale, EGC chairman, said in a statement.

Artisanal miners, who dig cobalt using rudimentary means, are the second largest source of cobalt worldwide after the Congo’s industrial mines.

Late on Tuesday, the Mineral Security Partnership (MSP), a multinational collaboration of more than a dozen countries and the European Union to invest in a global supply chain, also announced a deal with Gecamines and Japan’s JOGMEC.

“This is a MOU (memorandum of understanding) that will expedite European and Japanese investment in the mining sector in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), and it’s also a powerful demonstration of the MSP’s efforts to secure and diversify critical mineral supply chains,” US Under Secretary of State for Energy Jose W. Fernandez told a media briefing.

(By Anait Miridzhanian and Wendell Roelf; Editing by Eileen Soreng and Mark Potter)


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