JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – London-listed diversified miner Central African Mining & Exploration (Camec) has restarted cobalt operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), following a recent strengthening in the cobalt market.
Camec stopped mining at the Mukondo Mountain mine, in the Katanga province, in November, joining a number of other producers, which halted production as the global economic crisis reduced demand for cobalt.
At the time, TSX-listed Katanga Mining also halted cobalt mining in the DRC, while Geovic Mining delayed the construction of a cobalt project in Cameroon.
However, Camec said that cobalt inventories had now been drawn down, and that the market had seen some signs of recovery.
China’s consumption of cobalt is expected to increase by at least 3% to 4% in 2009, on the back of strong demand from cellphone batteries, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt marketing manager Yang Zhai told newswire Reuters.
China, the world’s top producer and consumer of cobalt, consumed about one-quarter of global demand in 2008.
Meanwhile, Camec said that it had used the time Mukondo Mountain mine was on care-and-maintenance to implement initiatives aimed at reducing production costs. The company removed the overburden from the orebody, which had reduced the strip ratio.
In November, Camec also suspended copper production in the DRC.