(Yicai Global) Feb. 2 -- Nanjing Hanrui Cobalt Co. plans to tackle rising demand from new-energy vehicle battery makers by setting up a Congo-based joint venture with a Chinese partner.
Hanrui and Qingyuan Keweike Mineral Trade Co. will pair up to found a new company in Kolwezi City, in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the cobalt mining firm said in a statement yesterday.
The joint venture will invest USD216 million to build a local plant with annual output of 20,000 tons of crude copper and 5,000 tons of cobalt hydroxide. Hanrui, which will build and manage the plant, will take a 95-percent stake in the new firm. The minority partner will procure mineral resources in the DRC.
Hanrui can currently produce only 5,000 tons of cobalt hydroxide a year but it isn't enough to meet growing demand in the NEV sector, where China led the world last year. Plug-in sales in the world's largest auto market grew 30 times faster than the market average, according to data from electric vehicle researcher EV Volumes.