The DRC’s state mining company, Gecamines, along with its subsidiary EGC, has secured an exclusive agreement to mine cobalt in five designated areas, reported Reuters.

The agreement grants EGC exclusive mining rights to five mining areas.

EGC, established by a government decree in December 2019, holds a monopoly over the artisanal cobalt sourced from the DRC, a leading cobalt producer.

EGC chairman Gino Buhendwa Ntale was quoted by the news agency as saying: “The provision of these five mining areas from Gécamines to EGC will mark the beginning of the standardisation of artisanal cobalt mining and the structuring of local entrepreneurship.”

The Mineral Security Partnership (MSP), a collective of more than a dozen countries and the EU, aims to strengthen the global supply chain of minerals.

In a separate development, the MSP signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Gecamines and the Japan Organisation for Metals and Energy Security for coordination in mineral exploration, production and processing.

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By GlobalData

The MOU will create a framework for cooperation in mining and mineral resources.

A press statement from the US Department of State reads: “This coordination among MSP partners is a powerful demonstration of the MSP’s efforts to secure and diversify critical mineral supply chains, which bring economic benefits to local communities and source countries such as the DRC.

“In addition, GECAMINES will be a key player in the Lobito Corridor project thanks to its large portfolio of joint-venture [JV] projects in production, representing over 1.5 million tonnes of copper cathodes and 100,000 tonnes of cobalt hydroxide and more to be commissioned from projects under construction.”

Last month, Reuters reported that DRC and Chinese construction companies entered an updated agreement on their Sicomines copper and cobalt JV.

The new deal includes a commitment of up to $7bn in infrastructure projects in the DRC.