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Sulfur squeeze spells trouble for Congo's copper and cobalt miners

Reuters - JOHANNESBURG/LONDON (Reuters) - Disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis have pushed up prices for sulfur by about 10% this year in the Democratic Republic of Congo, driving up costs of a vital ingredient for mining cobalt and copper in the African nation.

Coronavirus lockdowns and border closures in South Africa and parts of Zambia and Congo have disrupted transport and other logistics, delaying essential mining supplies.

Congo, the world’s biggest cobalt producer, accounted for 70% of global supplies in 2019 of the metal that is used in alloys for jet engines and batteries for phones and electric cars. It is Africa’s biggest copper producer, accounting for 6.5% of world supplies. Sulphuric acid is used to extract both.

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