Six workers at Glencore’s Kamoto Copper Company test positive for COVID-19

Kamoto Copper Company

SIX workers at Kamoto Copper Company (KCC), a Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) mine owned by Glencore, have tested positive for COVID-19, said Reuters.

None of the workers screened and tested presented symptoms of COVID-19, said KCC. It added that the employees were isolating at home under medical supervision.

A provincial surveillance team is tracing those who came into contact with the workers who tested positive, said Reuters.

The KCC statement did not comment on whether this affected production but Reuters cited a source with knowledge of the matter as saying it did not.

KCC said it has strengthened its health and sanitation controls over the past three months.

Glencore owns 75% of KCC through its Congo unit Katanga Mining, which in April cut its cobalt production target for this year to 26,000 tons from 29,000 tons.

In June, Glencore secured a contract to supply cobalt from its DRC operations to Tesla, the electric car maker owned by controversial entrepreneur, Elon Musk.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Financial Times said Glencore would supply Tesla’s new Shanghai Gigafactory and its planned Berlin facility. Cobalt is used in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries.

The deal, which increases Tesla’s reliance on supplies from the DRC, is a boost for Glencore’s cobalt business after a two-thirds slide in the metal’s price over the past two years to about $30,000 a ton, said the newspaper.