Glencore to reopen one of world’s biggest cobalt mines
Glencore could be set to reopen its Mutanda Mining copper and cobalt project in the Democratic Republic of Congo by the end of 2021, about two years after idling the mine.
Democratic Republic of Congo Mines Minister, Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi:
Congo’s new mines minister, Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi met with representatives from the Swiss company to discuss the restart of the mine, which closed in November 2019, reports Bloomberg.
Mutanda “will start the commissioning of operations towards the end of this year in order to allow the return to production in 2022,” Glencore said in a separate emailed statement.
Glencore's Mutanda is one of the world's biggest cobalt mines
A reopening of Mutanda, one of the world’s biggest cobalt mines, comes when there’s renewed demand for battery metals as automakers focus on metal-intensive electric vehicles and global economies shift away from fossil fuels in favor of cleaner technologies that use electricity for energy. Cobalt and copper are key metals in that transition.
Glencore said in August 2019 that it would close the mine for two years to carry out care and maintenance after prices of cobalt slumped. Mutanda was responsible for a fifth of global cobalt production in 2018, according to Darton Commodities, a UK-based firm that specialises in the metal.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.