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Japan wants DRC cobalt

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Japan wants DRC cobalt
Metalkol is a tailings reprocessing operation in the DRC and has become one of the world’s largest producers of cobalt as well as a major producer of copper. Image credit: Metalkol

Japan wants DRC cobalt

Under a new agreement cobalt hydroxide from the Metalkol mine in the DRC will supply the Japanese market.

Luxembourg headquartered Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mechema Chemicals and Marubeni Corporation to potentially supply and refine cobalt hydroxide, and to sell, distribute and market cobalt sulphate.

Mechema is a battery raw material producer headquartered in Taiwan, and Marubeni is a major integrated trading and investment business conglomerate headquartered in Japan.

Mechema manufactures cobalt and manganese-based catalysts and provides spent catalyst refinery services for the petrochemical industry.

The company also produces cobalt/nickel-based battery raw materials, mainly cobalt sulfate and nickel sulfate for major precursor cathode active material (pCAM) makers in the world.

Under the MoU, ERG, Mechema and Marubeni will study potential cooperation to develop an alternative cobalt supply chain for the Japanese market.

Furthermore, Mechema will conduct a feasibility study into the construction of a new cobalt refining plant, supplied by cobalt hydroxide produced by ERG, while Marubeni will study the ability to place produced cobalt sulfate into the Japanese market.

The potential cooperation could increase cobalt supply alternatives for the Japanese market, which is showing substantial growth in demand due to global surge in Electric Vehicle (EV) adoption.

It also supports ERG’s ambition to supply cobalt to all key regions that will produce battery materials, one of which will be Japan.

ESG now a global player

Under the MoU ERG will supply cobalt hydroxide from their flagship operation, Metalkol, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to potential customers in Japanese market.

According to Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of ERG and Co-Chair of the Global Battery Alliance, Japan is one of the leaders in the production of battery materials and clean energy technologies.

“The supply of cobalt to the Japanese market by ERG will support the energy transition and the global agenda to reach net zero by 2050,” says Sobotka.

In Africa, ERG mines and processes copper and cobalt ore and produces copper metal and cobalt hydroxide. ERG’s Frontier mine, the cornerstone of the company’s copper business, is located on the border between Zambia and the DRC.

Metalkol is a tailings reprocessing operation in the DRC and has become one of the world’s largest producers of cobalt as well as a major producer of copper.

ERG has its own supply chain on the continent through its logistics company SABOT as well as development projects which are focused on other minerals and products across the African continent, including South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The Global Battery Alliance

ERG is a founding member of the Global Battery Alliance (GBA), hosted originally on the platform of the World Economic Forum. The GBA is dedicated to ensuring an ethical and sustainable global supply chain for the lithium-ion batteries that can power the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a low carbon economy through electric vehicles, renewable energy technologies and smartphones.

Since its establishment in 2017, the GBA has grown to include more than 150 leading businesses and international organisations as members, becoming the world’s largest multi-stakeholder consortium in the energy storage space. In 2023, GBA has launched the world’s first Battery Passport.

ERG champions the WEF Securing Minerals for the Energy Transition (SMET) initiative, which aims to secure a reliable supply of the critical minerals vital for decarbonisation.

The Group is one of the first 25 organisations to join the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) – a CEO-led coalition of more than 250 members, including some of the world’s largest companies across industry and financial sectors.

Japan wants DRC cobalt

Japan wants DRC cobalt
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Japan wants DRC cobalt


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