DRC court puts administrator in charge of Tenke Fungurume mine
At the end of February, the Tribunal of Commerce in the south-eastern city of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, announced it had appointed a temporary administrator from state miner Gecamines to run China Molybdenum’s Tenke Fungurume copper-cobalt mine.
The order follows a several months-long dispute between shareholders China Molybdenum (80% owner) and Gecamines (20%), after the DRC established a commission to ensure China Molybdenum was complying with its contractual obligations for the mine.
In August 2021, China Molybdenum announced a US$2.5Bn investment to more than double output at Tenke. In 2020, the mine produced 183kt of copper and 15.4kt of cobalt. China Moly’s expansion plans would see an additional 200ktpy of copper and 17ktpy of cobalt capacity added by 2023. However, under an amended 2010 contract with the former owners Freeport-McMoRan Inc. and Lundin Mining Corp., the majority owners were required to pay Gecamines a US$1.2M royalty for each additional 100kt of copper reserves discovered beyond 2.5Mt.
Sage Ngoie Mbayo, who Gecamines recently named as its representative for the mine, has been appointed by the court as administrator for six months. He will take over management responsibilities from Jun Zhou, the chief executive appointed by China Molybdenum.
KYOCERA AVX Components to Acquire ROHM tantalum capacitor assets
KYOCERA AVX, a leading global manufacturer of advanced electronic components, is set to acquire ROHM Semiconductor’s tantalum and polymer capacitor business assets, the group announced on 4 March. The two companies recently reached a final agreement, which states that ROHM Semiconductor (ROHM Co., Ltd.) will transfer its tantalum and polymer capacitor business assets — including all of its tantalum and polymer capacitor manufacturing lines and relevant intellectual property — to KYOCERA AVX.
The transfer is scheduled to be executed on August 5, 2022, and ROHM will continue to produce tantalum and polymer capacitor products and supply them to KYOCERA AVX until all relevant production lines have been successfully transferred to the KYOCERA AVX manufacturing site. This will ensure a continuous supply for ROHM customers and immediately increase the already extensive selection of electrolytic capacitor solutions available to KYOCERA AVX customers.
“KYOCERA AVX is excited to announce the acquisition of ROHM Semiconductor’s tantalum and polymer capacitor business assets and to further expand our already extensive portfolio of electrolytic capacitor solutions,” said Johnny Sarvis, CEO of KYOCERA AVX.
“KYOCERA AVX is the leading global supplier of tantalum capacitors, as well as the largest supplier of high-reliability manganese dioxide (MnO2) solid tantalum capacitors for medical, military, and aerospace applications. In addition, we have four global manufacturing plants to ensure we can deliver the flexibility and capacity required by these demanding markets.”
KYOCERA AVX has an “open and progressive policy on ethical supply” and is the first tantalum capacitor supplier to comply with OECD guidelines and legislation on conflict minerals, Sarvis added.
Boeing halts purchases of titanium from Russia
The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and Bloomberg reported that airframe manufacturer Boeing had suspended buying titanium from Russia, effective 8 March. This follows the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. Reuters reported that Boeing had substantial titanium inventories and that it had sufficient material for airplane production.
Russia’s VSMPO-AVISMA is a major producer of titanium sponge, which it uses principally in-house for production of titanium melted and titanium mill products. The company is reported to supply around 35-40% of Boeing’s titanium requirements. The two groups additionally have a Russia-based joint venture – Ural Boeing Manufacturing – specialising in forging and machining of titanium components.
China H1 2022 tungsten quota unchanged y-on-y
In late February 2022, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) confirmed the H1 2022 quotas for tungsten mining, which total 63kt – 46.9kt from primary mining and 16.1kt from co-product operations. The figure is unchanged on H1 2021 totals.
Responsible Minerals Initiative announces next steps on ASM cobalt sourcing
The Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), an initiative of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), confirmed its next steps in supporting the responsible sourcing of artisanal cobalt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in an announcement on 3 March.
A new memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the RMI and the Global Battery Alliance (GBA) was signed in February 2022 to define the next phases of the work that was initially undertaken by the GBA’s Cobalt Action Partnership (GBA CAP). The new agreement recognises the need for greater market clarity regarding artisanal and small-scale mined (ASM) cobalt sourcing expectations and the roles of initiatives working in this space. The MOU outlines the RMI’s specific role in developing clear sourcing expectations for ASM cobalt that promotes improved conditions at mining sites and acceptance into global supply chains.
More information is available on www.responsiblemineralsinititative.org