Trafigura signs supply deal with Congo’s state cobalt buyer

By Hereward Holland

KINSHASA, Nov 23 (Reuters)Trafigura on Monday agreed to a supply deal with Congo’s state cobalt buyer under which the international trading house will finance the creation of controlled artisanal mining zones, buying centres and logistics to trace supply.

Congo’s Entreprise Generale du Cobalt (EGC) and Trafigura would also create a technical committee along with non-governmental organisation Pact to oversee responsible sourcing, the companies said in a joint statement on Monday.

The EGC will ensure the cobalt bought and marketed by Trafigura meets responsible mineral supply guidelines made by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the companies said.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has around 70% of the world’s reserves of cobalt, a key battery metal used in mobile phones and lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

The majority of the country’s cobalt is mined using rudimentary means by so-called “artisanal” miners.

Artisanal miners across commodities number around 42 million worldwide, according to Delve, a database created by Pact.

(Reporting by Hereward Holland; Writing by Helen Reid; Editing by Tom Hogue and Ramakrishnan M.)

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