ERG’s Metalkol RTR copper-cobalt plant in DRC signs up to Responsible Minerals Assurance Process

Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) has announced that Metalkol RTR, its hydrometallurgical copper and cobalt facility in the DRC, has committed to undergoing the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP), a flagship programme of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI). Metalkol RTR has made a formal commitment to proceed with the RMAP assessment and submitted all required pre-assessment documentation. Metalkol RTR is actively in communication with the RMI on logistics and preparation for the RMAP assessment.

The aim of the RMAP is to help companies and organisations make informed choices about responsibly sourced minerals in their supply chains. The RMAP uses an independent third-party assessment of smelter/refiner management systems and sourcing practices to validate conformance with RMAP standards. The assessment employs a risk-based approach to validate smelters’ company-level management processes for responsible mineral procurement. The RMAP standards are developed to meet the requirements of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance, the Regulation (EU) 2017/821 of the European Parliament and the US Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group and Co-Chair of the Global Battery Alliance, commented: “Cobalt’s role in the world economy is only set to increase as it is a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage which will power the green recovery. It is vital that the cobalt in these products is sourced responsibly and sustainably, and we have committed to this through our Clean Cobalt Framework, the Cobalt Industry Responsible Assessment Framework and the RMAP.”

Metalkol RTR reprocesses historical cobalt-copper tailings near Kolwezi. These accumulated over decades of mining at the site by previous operators, including at the existing Kingamyambo tailings deposit and in the Musonoi River. Once it reaches full production, this strategically important operation will make ERG a major player in the global cobalt market. Furthermore, by reprocessing and responsibly storing these tailings in a safe, modern facility, ERG says it will:

  • Support the development of affordable battery technology and, by extension, the electric vehicle revolution
  • Deliver responsible value chain assurance through its Clean Cobalt Framework
  • Reduce local pollution risks by reclaiming poorly stored and managed legacy tailings, and relocating them to a modern, responsibly managed facility

In 2019, ERG continued to ramp up production at Metalkol RTR, achieving 100% of the Phase 1 design tailings feed rate. However, volumes were affected by lower than expected grades from the Kingamyambo tailings deposit, initial water supply challenges and the illegal invasion of artisanal miners. ERG also initiated Phase 2 development and is implementing a number of initiatives to help Metalkol RTR achieve its designed capacity, including the overhaul of its belt filters and the upgrading of its production infrastructure. Under Phase 2 the facility will reach an annual capacity of 20,000 t of cobalt and 105,000 t of copper and has a target full capacity of 24,000 t of cobalt and 120,000 t of copper.