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Excerpt from February 8, 2024, BMO Metals Brief:

Official data published yesterday by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) shows total January vehicle sales increased by 48% y/y to 28.7M units annualised. New energy vehicle (NEV) sales rose by 79% y/y to 8.6M units annualised, constituting 30% of total sales last month. Within NEV, the share of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales reached its highest level on record (beginning in 2016) at 39% in January this year, as we have seen a partial shift towards PHEV sales away from the battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales in China over the past year, led by BYD. Meanwhile, total automotive production also performed strongly with output gaining 51% y/y last month at 28.4M units annualised, according to CAAM.

Cobalt - February 7, 2024

Chinese mining firm CMOC Group could buy more assets in copper and cobalt-rich Democratic Republic of Congo, and sees further potential for growth in South America and Indonesia, an executive told Reuters on Wednesday…Copper and cobalt are among the metals that are expected to see strong demand in the years to come due to their use in green technologies, such as electric vehicles, that are key to helping governments globally meet climate targets…CMOC last year became the world’s No. 1 cobalt mining company with production of some 55,000 tons, and could further outpace rivals including Glencore after raising its output forecast this year to 60,000 tons-70,000 tons…But Chinese cobalt producers have seemed unconcerned by oversupply that has knocked down cobalt prices, with some said to benefit from state support for a sector seen as vital to China’s electric vehicle industry…Silvery-blue cobalt was once seen as an indispensable element of EV lithium-ion batteries, with prices soaring in May 2022 to four-year highs, but they have since slipped back nearly 70%...EV sales have been slowing as inflation hits consumers and governments cut subsidies, while batteries without the mineral have been rising in popularity…While the company sees lower cobalt prices remaining for longer, its production is aligned to longer-term demand fundamentals that could benefit from the future outlook for the energy transition sectors globally, Liang said.

BNN Bloomberg - February 8, 2024

The state-owned company created to buy all of Democratic Republic of Congo’s hand-dug cobalt could start operating within three months after years of delays, according to its chief executive officer…Entreprise Generale du Cobalt will soon launch pilot sites around the town of Kolwezi on parts of five mining permits belonging to its main shareholder, state-miner Gecamines, Eric Kalala said…The company doesn’t yet have an offtake agreement for the electric-vehicle battery metal, which will be dug by small-scale, artisanal miners working with EGC-approved cooperatives…Congo founded EGC in 2019 to formalize artisanal cobalt mining, which employs hundreds of thousands of people but is infamous for dangerous working conditions and child labor. The company has struggled to get off the ground amid disagreements about its structure and weak cobalt prices due to oversupply…In theory, EGC could be a major player in global cobalt, 70% of which comes from Congo. The country’s artisanal miners can account for as much as 20% of national output, according to the company…Congo exported 139,800 tons of cobalt last year, a 21% increase from 2022. Total world production was about 190,000 tons in 2022, according to US Geological Survey estimates…Commodity trader Trafigura Group is still EGC’s “main partner” in the project, but “bilateral discussions” continue with other parties, Kalala said. 

For further information about the NICO Project and its Mineral Reserves, please refer to the Technical Report on the Feasibility Study for NICO, entitled "Technical Report on the Feasibility Study for the NICO-Gold-Cobalt-Bismuth-Copper Project, Northwest Territories, Canada", dated April 2, 2014 and prepared by Micon, which has been filed on SEDAR and is available under the Company's profile at


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