Cobalt is a key material in the lithium-ion battery, and critical to electric cars. In the past 10 years, Chinese companies have spent several billion dollars to buy up the cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the largest cobalt supplying country in the world.
Recently a Congo court ordered China Molybdenum Co. to temporarily give up its control of the Tenke Fungurume mine. Gécamines SA, Congo’s state mine company reported that China Molybdenum Co. provided a false, low mine reserve number to the government to evade several million dollars in fees. The Congo authorities stopped the Chinese company’s operation in the mine for six months, until the accounting firm Mazars re-assesses the true value. The investigation has also expanded to a few other Chinese companies.
Last year, Congo President Félix Tshisekedi vowed that his government will continue reviewing mine contracts to ensure the Congo people benefit from the mining. Earlier this year, the Biden administration sent a group to Congo to discuss how the U.S. can obtain cobalt.
Source: Epoch Times, March 12, 2022