The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has re-established an export ban on copper and cobalt concentrates. However, it will allow mining companies that hold waivers to continue with shipments.
Since 2013, Congo had banned exports of concentrates to encourage miners to process and refine the ore domestically. Congo is the top cobalt producer and the biggest copper miner in Africa.
Due to inadequate smelting capacity, the DRC government has resorted to issuing waivers from time to time. In Aug 2020, the mining ministry granted waiver for all mineral exports, except for copper concentrate. This ban ended on April 12, with Ministry establishing a framework to grant exceptions on a case-to-case basis following the receipt of application from miners.
Recently, Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines announced copper concentrate production at Kamoa-Kakula project in Congo. The company shared that Kamoa Copper has filed the necessary application.
The ban on exports from DRC may pressurize the global copper and cobalt supply.
The copper industry needs to spend upwards of $100bn to tide over the annual supply deficit of 4.7mn mt by 2030, according to estimates by CRU Group. The potential shortfall could reach 10mn mt if no mines are built, a report by Trafigura noted.
Mining company Glencore is expected to restart operations in Congo in 2022.
Resumption of operations may ease undersupply and will restrict further price gains.