ERG to put copper miner Boss on care and maintenance from end-February

Global miner Eurasian Resources will place its Boss Mining copper-cobalt unit in Democratic Republic of Congo on care and maintenance at the end of February 2019, the company has told Fastmarkets.

“Boss Mining will be placed into care and maintenance from the end of February,” the company said in a statement published on Tuesday February 19.

“We can confirm that technical and exploration work has started as part of a feasibility study for the construction of two processing facilities to treat [copper] oxide and sulfide ores,” a spokesman for ERG added.

Boss Mining produces 42,000 tonnes per year of copper cathode and 69,000 tpy of cobalt sulfide concentrate. It also produces cobalt in concentrate that is sold to ERG Africa’s Chambishi refinery in Zambia, which produced about 2,300 tonnes of cobalt in the form of broken cathode in 2018.

The decision to place Boss Mining on care and maintenance followed news last week that ERG was suspending production of copper and cobalt at Chambishi.

Fastmarkets’ benchmark price assessment for standard-grade cobalt, which includes Chambishi broken cathodes, was $17.00-19.30 per lb, in-warehouse on February 15.

That compared with the price for alloy-grade material at $15.90-17.95 per lb on the same day, reflecting the greater availability of cut cathodes over other forms.