Glencore's Canada subdidiary Katanga Mining has confirmed its decision to suspend processing of copper and cobalt for 18 months.
During the suspension period, the company will invest in a skills development programme.
The company also has plans to continue with the $880m investment in a bid to modernise ongoing processing plants, in addition to the waste stripping of the KOV and Mashamba open-pits.
As part of the upgrades, the new leach plant will replace the existing oxide concentration process, which is expected to improve copper recoveries and operating unit costs once processing resumes.
Katanga and Mutanda Mining will continue to invest in the INGA power project, which includes the G27 and G28 turbines rehabilitation, along with increased power transmission from Kinshasa to Katanga.
During the suspension, Katanga Mining will continue to operate its hospitals, run its health schemes, and will also continue to invest in its 2016 corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects.
Glencore said it will also procure the additional funding that is needed for the Whole Ore Leach (WOL) project and other capital expenditure during its building and commissioning phases.
It will also provide necessary funding for the care and maintenance related activities, which are expected to continue during suspension.
Katanga Mining operates a mine complex in the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In November 2008, the company temporarily suspended mining at Tilwezembe and ore processing at the Kolwezi concentrator citing low cobalt prices.
Image: Piezometer drilling for the dewatering programme at KOV. Photo: courtesy of Katanga Mining Limited.