Mutanda to re-start by year end, says Glencore

Glencore has confirmed it will re-start operations at its Mutanda cobalt mine in the DRC by the end of the year before resuming production in 2022.
Mutanda to re-start by year end, says Glencore Mutanda to re-start by year end, says Glencore Mutanda to re-start by year end, says Glencore Mutanda to re-start by year end, says Glencore Mutanda to re-start by year end, says Glencore

Copper cathodes at Glencore's Mutanda operation in the DRC

Antoinette N'Samba Kalambayi, the DRC's new mines minister, met with representatives from the Swiss company on Monday to discuss the restart, the ministry said in a statement sent to reporters.

The closure of the mine in November 2019 took about 20% of the world's cobalt supply offline.

At the time, Glencore said a combination of low cobalt prices, the DRC's new mining code and corporate taxes made the operation commercially unviable.

The rise in cobalt prices since then suggests Glencore's strategy has paid off.

The LME cobalt price now stands at just under US$45,000/t, up about 50% from August 2019, when Glencore took the decision to idle Mutanda.

 

However, after hitting a high in March, cobalt prices have softened in recent months.

The average cobalt sulphate price fell 6.8% in China in May, following on from a 12.9% drop in April, while cobalt battery metal and cobalt hydroxide prices lost 7.4% and 10% respectively according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

Benchmark said even with Mutanda back online, the cobalt market was expected to experience marginal deficits and stock drawdowns from 2023.