CMOC has announced that the KFM copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will start production in 1H23 and is expected to add an average of 90 000 tpy of copper metal and 30 000 type of cobalt metal upon reaching full production.
The KFM copper-cobalt mine is one of the world’s largest and highest-grade undeveloped copper-cobalt projects. Located in the Central African copper-cobalt belt in the DRC, KFM enjoys synergy with TFM copper-cobalt mine, one of the existing assets of CMOC, in development and operations with a distance of 33 km between the two sites. In December 2020, CMOC acquired a 95% stake in Kisanfu copper-cobalt mine (later named KFM) in the DRC for US$550 million. On 11 April 2021, CMOC and CATL jointly announced that CATL would obtain a minority stake in KFM through its subsidiary.
Accelerating the development of the rich resources of copper and cobalt mines in the DRC is conducive to satisfying the growing demand for cobalt metal as a result of the new energy industry and maintaining a healthy and sustainable development of the new energy value chain. The cobalt market has been in a tight balance with a strong demand of new energy metals as the electric vehicle (EV) market grows rapidly. The industry has concern over long-term clean and reliable cobalt supply. The Cobalt Institute, in its report released in May 2022, forecasts that cobalt demand will grow from 175 000 t in 2021 to 320 000 t over a five-year period. Cobalt metal supply in 2021 was less than 160 000 t. The gap will remain wide even considering the projects that are still under construction globally.
CMOC indicates that the construction of the KFM project and the expansion of TFM’s production can partially meet the growing demand for cobalt metal from the EV sector and relieve the concerns of battery and automobile manufacturers about the shortage of cobalt metal supply. In the future, the company will be able to adjust its mine planning in accordance with supply and demand fundamentals.
CMOC promises that it will strictly follow international ESG standards and develop the KFM project in the most responsible manner based on its extensive experience and sound practice in ESG. The successful development of the project will serve the common interest of all stakeholders and will bring great value and economic benefits to local communities and the DRC as well as make contribution to addressing the global climate change and green energy transition.