Tag Archives: Katanga

Zest WEG signs up Panaco to grow footprint in key DRC mining hub

Zest WEG, in an effort to strengthen its Africa footprint, has appointed Panaco as its value-added reseller (VAR) in the Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

According to Zest WEG’s Africa Business Development Executive, Taylor Milan, Panaco is a 100% locally-owned business that has successfully serviced the region, known for mining, for over 40 years.

“Panaco is a well-established and respected company with strong business relationships with nearly all of our current clients,” Milan said. “Its business methodology and culture are closely aligned with ours, and this synergy will aid us in supporting our current installed base, client network and growth expectations.”

Milan highlighted the increasing importance of local content in the supply of equipment and services across the continent. Therefore, Zest WEG has prioritised closer partnerships with local firms as a key element of its sustainable growth strategy in Africa, a strategy Zest WEG Group CEO, Siegfried Kreutzfeld, mentioned shortly after being appointed to the role in 2019.

Milan also emphasised the importance of VARs in this strategy.

“Going beyond the role of just a distributor, a VAR is a local business chosen to promote and support the wide range of Zest WEG’s offering,” he said. “It carries the whole Zest WEG brand into local markets.

“Panaco has the ability to assist us in growing the comprehensive WEG product portfolio well beyond our traditional low-voltage motor and drive business,” he said. “It has business facilities in Lubumbashi, Kolwezi and Kinshasa – bringing our services and support closer to customers in this fast-growing region.”

The VAR partnership will provide locally accessible support and skills, substantial stockholding, and quality products at competitive pricing, the company said. It will also build strong and service-oriented customer relationships, according to Milan.

Zest WEG has also appointed DRC firm AEMI as a WEG-accredited repair facility, after AEMI successfully met its OEM standards. The company has a full repair facility in Likasi, and another in Kinshasa.

Glencore and Umicore sign up to cobalt hydroxide supply pact

As part of a new agreement with Umicore, Glencore has agreed to supply cobalt hydroxide from its KCC and Mutanda operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Umicore’s battery materials value chain.

Umicore has assessed each of these operations as fully compliant with its sustainable procurement framework for cobalt, which excludes artisanally-mined cobalt from its supply chain, as well as any form of child labour, the companies said.

The cobalt units will be shipped to Umicore’s cobalt refineries globally, including the Kokkola refinery (Finland), which Umicore said last week it would acquire from Freeport Cobalt for a total consideration of $150 million. The Kokkola transaction is expected to be finalised by the end of the year.

Glencore produced 42,200 t of cobalt in 2018, the majority of which came from its 65%-owned KCC operation and Mutanda.

“The agreement guarantees Umicore’s security of supply for a substantial part of its longer-term cobalt needs for its expanding global battery materials value chain,” the companies said. “The agreement also provides Glencore long-term market access for its cobalt raw materials in line with Umicore’s growing cathode materials sales.”

Marc Grynberg, CEO of Umicore, said: “Our partnership with Glencore and the acquisition of the Kokkola refinery which has just been announced demonstrate our ability to execute our growth strategy for cathode materials with consistency. The agreement also reconfirms our strong commitment to promote a sustainable battery materials value chain globally.

“I am convinced that our battery cell and automotive customers will value our commitment to support their growth.”

Nico Paraskevas, Head of Marketing, Copper & Cobalt, Glencore, said: “We are pleased to enter into this long-term partnership with Umicore in the fast growing electric vehicle market which further endorses Glencore’s important role in supplying the materials that enable the energy and mobility transition.”