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DRC’s Katanga mine restart boosts cobalt production for Glencore

Katanga’s Kamoto mine in the DRC is one of the world’s largest producers of cobalt.

Kathleen Ndongmo

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A conveyor belt carries chunks of Raw cobalt after a first transformation at a plant in Lubumbashi - AFP

Miner and trader Glencore say the restart of operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo increased cobalt production in 2018 by 54 percent while copper output rose 11 percent.

 In an update to investors in December, the London-listed company said it stuck to its 2019 production guidance

Production of cobalt, used in batteries for electric vehicles, reached 42,200 tonnes in 2018 while copper hit 1.453 million tonnes.

Glencore’s Katanga Mining unit in Congo ramped up in late 2017.

Katanga’s Kamoto mine in the DRC is one of the world’s largest producers of cobalt.

However cobalt production is not translating into sales, as Glencore has been forced to keep the metal stockpiled at the site until it can find a long-term solution to remove excess uranium in the cobalt.


Katanga Mining, Glencore’s subsidiary in the DRC, said it had been told by the government to suspend a project to build a new system to remove uranium from its cobalt supplies which makes it unsafe for export.

 “On January 30, 2019, the Company’s 75 per cent operating subsidiary Kamoto Copper Company received a letter from the DRC Minister of Mines following the inspection conducted by the DRC Government in the fourth quarter of 2018,” Katanga said in a statement. 

“The Minister of Mines raised certain concerns with the technical solutions identified by KCC and requested that KCC suspend the project to build an Ion exchange plant until further notice. KCC intends to engage with the Ministry of Mines to understand and address their concerns.” 

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South Africa’s Foschini to halt Kenya, Ghana operations

South African retailers have recorded poor performance in the last year, due to slow economic growth and currency devaluations

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South Africa's Foschini to halt Kenya, Ghana operations
(File photo)

South African fashion retailer, the Foschini Group is considering shutting down its Kenya and Ghana businesses.

The firm’s Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Thunstrom, affirms that at least, six stores will be affected in both countries.

South African retailers have recorded poor performance in the last year, due to slow economic growth and currency devaluations that had hit sales.

In July, department store chain, Woolworths pulled out from West Africa for a second time.

The Foschini Group will review economic growth, legislature and lease negotiations in Kenya and Ghana before making its decision.

Come September, in its home market, Thunstrom says The Foschini Group will launch a smaller format Sportscene store that will enjoy entertainment features such as a basketball court and a DJ booth, in an effort to lure millennials into its stores and away from online players such as Naspers’ majority-owned Superbalist.

The store will be launched in September in Johannesburg’s upscale Sandton shopping and financial district.

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Total Mozambique gas project will go on despite insurgency

Total will also acquire US energy giant Anadarko’s assets in Algeria, Ghana, Mozambique and South Africa

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Energy major Total on Friday said it remained committed to a Mozambique liquefied natural gas project on the country’s northern coast despite deadly Islamist insurgent attacks.

Total will become the operator of the $25 billion Rovuma LNG Project whose construction began on August 5 in the Afungi Peninsula.

The company is also set to acquire US energy giant Anadarko’s assets in Algeria, Ghana, Mozambique and South Africa, strengthening Total’s position in Africa.

But the area where the project is located has been targeted by jihadists since October 2017, claiming more than 300 lives.

Attackers in February launched an assault on a convoy of vehicles from an Anadarko contractor, killing one worker and injuring others. 

This led to the suspension of operations for a few months, with activities only resuming after the government announced the deployment of armed forces.

Several hundred suspected attackers have been arrested, according to authorities, but sporadic assaults continue.

On Friday Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanne reaffirmed Total’s commitment to the LNG project saying it “is a unique asset which perfectly fits our strategy and our skills.

“Please be assured of the commitment of Total to bring the best of our human, technical and financial capacities to further strengthen the project execution … in the interests of all those involved, including the government and people of Mozambique,” he said in a statement.

The project is expected to be transformational for Mozambique, creating an estimated 5,000 direct jobs and 45,000 indirect jobs.

The country’s gas deposits are estimated at 5,000 billion cubic metres and would make Mozambique a major exporter of liquefied natural gas.

The use of natural gas is on the rise globally as countries struggle to meet energy demands and shift away from using coal.

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Kenya plans to tax OTT services like Youtube, Netflix

The over-the-top services (OTT) will soon be required to declare the incomes they derive from Kenyan consumers

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Kenya plans to tax OTT services like Youtube, Netflix

Kenya’s Information Communication and Technology (ICT) ministry is working on completing a new tax scheme.

This framework, reports say, will be used to tax foreign online streaming media services such as YouTube and Netflix.

The over-the-top services (OTT) will soon be required to declare the incomes they derive from Kenyan consumers.

OTT services include all applications that offer voice, video and messaging services over the internet.

Communications Authority Director-General, Francis Wangusi says online content providers exploit the Kenyan industry. Yet, neither the government nor artistes benefit from them.

According to Wangusi, “many countries have policies that guide these services and that is where we are heading as a country”.

He adds that technologies that will facilitate taxation of OTT services are available.

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