Chambishi agrees cobalt deals with DRC mines

[] — Zambia’s largest cobalt producer Chambishi Metals Plc has agreed cobalt concentrate supply deals with some mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and will now resume operations in August, it said on Friday.

Chief Executive Officer Derek Webbstock said Chambishi, whose operations were placed under care and maintenance in December and were scheduled to resume in July, would delay restarting output until some mines in the DRC begin to deliver cobalt concentrates.

“We should be able to resume operations when the suppliers deliver the concentrates they have committed to produce by the middle of August,” Webbstock told Reuters.

Webbstock said Chambishi, which had forecast output of 3,400 tonnes of cobalt in 2009 from 2,500 before it suspended operations last December, would first stockpile the cobalt concentrates before starting operations.

“We have concluded some negotiations and the suppliers have committed to deliver the concentrates but we are still waiting to conclude others,” Webbstock said.

He said some negotiations with DRC mining firms had taken longer than anticipated.

Chambishi, which was previously owned by Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM), a joint venture of Bein Stein Group Resources (BSGR) and International Mineral Resources (IMR), is now owned by Enya Holdings of the United Kingdom.

The ownership of the company changed after China Nonferrous Metals Corporation (CNMC) acquired an 85 percent stake in LCM in June.

Chambishi had also forecast to produce 20,000 tonnes of B-grade copper in 2009, but Webbstock did not say whether the company would also resume copper production.