Swiss commodity trader Trafigura Group Pte. Ltd. is part of a consortium backing the US$450 million needed to build a copper-cobalt plant at the Mutoshi mine in Democratic Republic of Congo, owned by Shalina Group Ltd. unit Chemaf SPRL, London's Financial Times reported Oct. 14, citing two people familiar with the matter.
The report noted that the financing comes amid Glencore PLC's plan to shut down the Mutanda copper-cobalt mine by the end of the year due to slumping prices. Trafigura reportedly hopes that Chemaf can become a competitive producer once demand rises again.
First Bank of Nigeria and Africa Finance Corp. are also part of the consortium, the report said. Trafigura will also inject money in exchange for cobalt supplies. In April 2018, the company signed a deal to market cobalt from Chemaf until December 2020.
The financing is aimed at boosting Mutoshi's production to 16,000 tonnes of cobalt per annum by the end of 2020. Artisanal miners have mined the Mutoshi concession, which hosts about 300,000 tonnes of cobalt, according to the report. In October 2018, Trafigura invested in training and organizing the small-scale miners into licensed cooperatives.
A Trafigura spokesperson declined the newspaper's request for comment.