(Yicai Global) June 12 -- China Nonferrous Metal Industry's Foreign Engineering and Construction will continue to serve as the building contractor for a key ore project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the world's biggest source of copper and cobalt.
NFC signed a USD155 million-contract with La Compagnie De Traitement Des Rejets De Kingamyambo to keep working at the Metalkol Roan Tailings & Reclamation smelting plant, the Beijing-based engineering firm said in a statement. The project is expected to take 20 months after the second phase starts.
Congo is the world's biggest source of cobalt, the price of which has more than tripled during last 18 months due to fears of shortages. The central African country is also the continent's top copper producer.
China produces more than 80 percent of the world's refined cobalt and is also the world's leading consumer of the element, with the country's rechargeable battery sector using nearly 80 percent of supply, China Daily cited data from the United States Geological Survey as saying. Cobalt can increase the energy density of lithium batteries, the most common power source for electric cars.
The RTR project started construction in June 2015, and after completion, the annual capacity of both natural resources will increase 50 percent to 21,000 tons of cobalt and 105,000 tons of copper.
NFC's involvement in the project last year brought in CNY1 billion (USD156.2 billion) in revenue, making up 7 percent of its total operating income during the year.
Editor: Emmi Laine