A second point of departure is the raw material availability: over 60% of all cobalt resources are from the copper-belt in Africa (Zambia and DRC), and hence, an African facility has significant competitive advantages over alternative processing plants in other parts of the world with regard to raw material sourcing.
Technology and know-how are major considerations for product quality, and a South African plant, having access to state-of-the-art equipment and technology, as well as the long experience of the country’s mining and processing industries, is expected to have a competitive advantage over similar green-fields manufacturing plants. This would include:
- Extensive experience of Gilgamesh management in the cobalt value-chain, drawing from Knightsbridge Cobalt, Umicore and MetaChemica expertise.
- Strong technology team drawing on the strength of the highly-developed South African Mining and Chemical Processing industries, enabling the company to design, operate and service complex mineral processing operations.
- Gilgamesh’s unique experience, technical skills and proprietary technology in converting low-grade cobalt ore into intermediate and final, high-value-added cobalt products. This experience includes leaching, solvent extraction and other refining techniques.
- Extensive international network and global marketing expertise developed by the then MetaChemica in the global cobalt products market.
- Many years of experience in the marketing of cobalt as an alloy, as a concentrate or as a finished product (cathode or chemical).
- Strong relationships with people involved with the mining and/or sourcing of suitable minerals and concentrates from the DRC and Zambia. This contributes to the ability of sourcing low cost, easily accessible raw material feed on a continuous and sustainable basis from the copper-belt.
- Proximity to the copper-belt (Zambia and the DRC) in sourcing raw cobalt ores.
- In SA, cobalt as well as nickel is available as a by-product of platinum mining, and hence, Gilgamesh will occupy a very strategic position very close to substantial cobalt resources. The company will have access to an abundant variety of cobalt-containing raw materials from the DRC, Zambia and South Africa.