CATL buys into cobalt for batteries with stake in China Molybdenum's KFM

by John Shepherd
Mining partnership plan announced after DRC unveiled new standards to 'transform' cobalt mining sector. Photo: Trafigura
Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) is strengthening its hold on the battery materials market by taking a stake in an undeveloped copper-cobalt mining project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

CATL subsidiary, Hong Kong Bangpu Times, will take a 25% stake in Hong Kong-listed KFM Holding – a division of China Molybdenum, owner of the Kisanfu mine.

On completion of the $137.5m (about £100m) deal, China Molybdenum and Bangpu Times will hold 75% and 25% of KFM, respectively, and KFM will hold 95% of the Kisanfu project.

CATL chairman Zeng Yuqun said the mining deal was key to being able to compete in the "terawatt-hour era ushered in by the lithium battery industry”.

Responsible mining

The mining partnership follows DRC’s launch of new regulations to boost responsible sourcing for the battery materials supply chain.

Zeng said CATL and China Molybdenum were committed to responsible mining practices to support development of the new energy vehicles industry.

The partners will "work together to build a world-class large-scale copper and cobalt producer”, CATL said.

According to CATL, Kisanfu is one of the world's highest-grade copper-cobalt mines to be developed. It has 365 million tons of ore resources, containing more than 6.2 million tons of copper metal and more than 3.1 million tons of cobalt metal.

China Molybdenum acquired Kisanfu last December from Freeport-McMoRan.

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