Huge Congo Cobalt Project to Start Up Soon: Africa Mining Update

Huge Congo Cobalt Project to Start Up Soon: Africa Mining Update

(Bloomberg) — Executives, investors and government officials meet in Cape Town this week at the African Mining Indaba, the continent’s biggest gathering of one of its most essential industries.

The gold sector is a hot topic this year, after two giant deals reignited interest in bullion producers, prompting speculation over who might be next. Tailings dams are also in the spotlight, after Vale SA’s disaster in Brazil.

Here are the latest developments, updated throughout the day. (Time stamps are local time in Cape Town.) AngloGold’s CEO suggested the company may provide an update on the company’s plans to streamline its assets when it reports annual results this month.

Barrick chief Mark Bristow said the industry needs to change its mindset on “instant gratification.”

One of world’s biggest cobalt projects will start production “very shortly,” according to its owner. Eurasian Resources Group S.a.r.l.’s Metalkol Roan Tailings Reclamation project began copper production last September and cobalt output will start soon, said ERG’s marketing director for copper and cobalt African sales, Giles Smith.

Supply levels will depend on market demand for the metal, Smith said. Cobalt production will start at 14,000 tons a year, and could ramp up in second and third phases to reach 24,000 tons at full capacity, he said. The company could potentially achieve annual cobalt output of 50,000 tons from its four Congo operations, Smith said.

Barrick Gold Corp. Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow was characteristically scathing of the rest of the industry, criticizing what he calls “chronic short-termism” on the part of mining executives, governments and investors.

“You have a tough balance sheet, a difficult year: you increased the taxes. You are motivated by a bonus that requires production: you high-grade your mines. As an investor, you demand dividends before the investment has arrived and started to deliver value,” he said. “We have seen it over the last five years across Africa.”

Bristow took over as CEO of Barrick after its purchase of Randgold Resources Ltd. Going forward, the company “will be investing substantially in our future, hunting not for ounces but for profitable ounces,” he said.

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. CEO Kelvin Dushnisky said he remains of the view that the company’s asset portfolio would benefit from streamlining. He indicated the Johannesburg-based miner may have more to say on the subject when it reports full-year results later this month.

The company’s Obuasi mine in Ghana will be an engine of growth for AngloGold and […]

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