World’s top battery maker CATL grabs stake in DRC cobalt-copper miner

Tenke Fungurume is one of the largest copper and cobalt mines in the DRC. (Image courtesy of CMOC Group.)

China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL), the world’s largest battery maker, will buy a 25% stake in CMOC Group (previously known ad China Molybdenum), in the latest move by a battery producer to secure supply of key metals. 

CATL’s second largest shareholder, Sichuan CATL, will indirectly own a 24.68% stake in CMOC via a capital boost and stake transfer valued at 26.75 billion yuan (roughly $3.7 billion), the battery maker said in a filing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

The move makes CATL the world’s second largest indirect shareholder in the copper-cobalt giant, which owns and operates the Tenke Fungurume Mine (TFM) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

Last year, the Chinese manufacturer acquired a 25% interest in CMOC’s Kisanfu copper-cobalt mine, also in the DRC, for $137.5 million.

The deal is among many recent examples of Chinese miners and battery makers forging closer ties as the accelerating shift to electric vehicles highlights the shortage of key metals needed to power the clean-energy revolution. 

CATL is trying to address supply-chain constraints by being more active upstream. It was the losing bidder for Canada’s Millennial Lithium a year ago, and has signed agreements with several Chinese provincial governments, including Sichuan and Jiangxi, to secure lithium supplies