The CEO of a leading group for diversified natural resources, Eurasian Resources Group, represented the company as a keynote speaker at the recent commodities summit held in Tokyo. The summit, which was on the topic of ‘Preparing for the Energy Transition’, featured a number of speakers from industry leaders, which included JOGMEC and Rio Tinto along with CEO Benedikt Sobotka of ERG. Discussing the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Sobotka highlighted the importance of metals suppliers.
Sustainable and Responsible Sourcing
ERG’s vision for sustainable and responsible sourcing of materials was a key feature of Sobotka’s speech, acknowledging the challenges faced in this area in the industry and in particular the global battery sector. Cobalt and copper are key offerings from ERG and are helping to drive the electric vehicle market. At present, much of the cobalt for EV batteries comes from the artisanal mining sector which is known to use child labour. Approximately a quarter of the global cobalt supply is currently sourced from such artisanal and small-scale mining operations. ERG’s vision looks to a future where cobalt can be sourced without child labour, in accordance with legal, social and environmental norms and with minimal pollution.
ERG supplies cobalt and copper to many countries and a variety of industries, with a strong presence in Japan. Japanese clients include makers of batteries and suppliers of battery materials, along with companies in the electronics industry, speciality steel producers, and manufacturers of magnets, catalysts and other chemical producers. ERG has a series of operational African-based assets as well as development projects in cobalt and copper, along with coal, platinum, fluorspar, manganese and bauxite. Cobalt is a key driver of the electric vehicle market, although Sobotka emphasised the need for multi-million dollar investment and long-term planning if the material was to be sourced sustainably.
Metalkol RTR Clean Cobalt Initiative
Eurasian Resources Group’s operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo include Metalkol RTR which is a reprocessing facility for historic cobalt and copper tailings from previous mining operations. The Group is implementing a Clean Cobalt Framework at the Metalkol hydro-metallurgical facility, with the aim of providing a guarantee that cobalt has been sourced sustainably and responsibly. In Africa, ERG has further planned to increase production to approximately 50,000 tonnes of cobalt and 300,000 tonnes of copper per annum at its operations. The supply chain of ERG in Africa is controlled by its North-South corridor logistics specialists Sabot.
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