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ERG and Thara MOU forges partnership for a cobalt refinery in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“ERG is leading industry efforts to ensure the sustainable, traceable cobalt sourcing into battery supply chains across the globe. Joining forces with Thara will accelerate our potential development of a cobalt sulphate refinery in the Kingdom.” 

Benedikt Sobotka,

Chief Executive Officer,

Eurasian Resources Group.

ERG is advancing plans on developing a cobalt sulphate refinery, to be supplied with cobalt hydroxide from its Metalkol facility in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where it is pursuing the development of a refinery to process cobalt hydroxide into cobalt sulphates, the primary form of supply for cobalt bearing electric vehicle batteries. 

The move to vertically integrate the company’s cobalt business, aims to strengthen its position as a strategic supplier to the chemicals sector, particularly for batteries for electric vehicles. ERG has identified the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a potential host jurisdiction for refinery and is partnering with Thara Future Investment Company (Thara), to jointly investigate and pursue the investment in the country. 

Photo Credits: ERG

Thara, an investment platform recently established by prominent Saudi investors, is focused on unlocking Vision 2030 opportunities, particularly on sectors where the Kingdom holds a distinct advantage. They aim to capitalize on the Kingdom’s substantial mineral wealth, and leverage value chains in sectors including chemicals, waste management and future materials.  

“ERG expects sustained market penetration of electric vehicles to drive a quadrupling of demand for NCM and NCA cobalt-bearing batteries through 2030,” said Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group. “ERG is leading industry efforts to ensure the sustainable, traceable cobalt sourcing into battery supply chains across the globe. Joining forces with Thara will accelerate our potential development of a cobalt sulphate refinery in the Kingdom.” 

“I am thrilled about our collaboration as we embark on the development of this critical value chain in the Kingdom,” said Hisham Attar, Managing Partner of Thara. “This endeavor embodies our commitment towards innovation and sustainable growth, unlocking new opportunities that align seamlessly with our vision and purpose.” 

The refinery will be supplied with cobalt hydroxide from ERG’s Metalkol facility the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a historic tailings reclamation and environmental restoration operation producing high quality copper cathode and cobalt in hydroxide. 

“ERG holds vast cobalt resources in the DRC and is one of the largest suppliers of cobalt hydroxide globally. Being underpinned by supply from our upstream operations, the planned cobalt refinery project is considerably de-risked,” said Benedikt Sobotka. 

Operations at Metalkol are in accordance with recognized responsible and sustainable practices as set out in the ERG Clean Cobalt & Copper Framework. 

Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) is a global metals and mining company, with a workforce of around 80,000 and integrated exploration, mining, processing, energy, and logistics operations in Kazakhstan, Africa, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Brazil. ERG operates in 16 countries and is a growing supplier of critical raw materials that are enabling the global energy transition. 

In Kazakhstan, ERG represents one third of the metals and mining industry. It is also a key power supplier and a large railway operator in Central Asia. ERG manages several of Kazakhstan’s leading production entities, including Kazchrome, SSGPO, Kazakhstan Aluminium Smelter (KAS), Aluminium of Kazakhstan, Eurasian Energy Corporation, and others. 

ERG is the world’s largest high-carbon ferrochrome producer by chrome content and one of the largest producers of cobalt. It is also a large global supplier of copper and high-grade iron ore. In Eurasia, it is one of the largest suppliers of alumina and is Kazakhstan’s only producer of high-grade aluminium.  

In Africa, ERG mines and processes copper and cobalt ore and produces copper metal and cobalt hydroxide. Frontier is the cornerstone of the Group’s copper business, while ERG’s Metalkol, a major tailing reprocessing operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has become one of the world’s largest producers of cobalt as well as a major producer of copper. The Group has its own supply chain on the continent through its logistics company Sabot as well as development projects which are focused on other minerals and products across Africa, including in South Africa and Zimbabwe. 

Photo Credits: ERG


In Brazil, ERG is developing BAMIN, an integrated mining and logistics project in the State of Bahia, which comprises the Pedra de Ferro iron ore mine, the Porto Sul deep-water port and the associated stretch of the new FIOL broad gauge railway. 

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ERG is focused on adopting a technological leadership position through industry partnerships, with the Kingdom serving as a strategic base for an advanced, high-impact hub to sustainably meet mineral demand. ERG intends to expedite early-stage exploration in the Kingdom to help meet the surging demand for battery metals, by deploying innovative and sustainable exploration technologies through its Technology Intelligence division. 

ERG is a Strategic Partner Associate of the World Economic Forum and a founding member of the Global Battery Alliance (GBA) which is dedicated to establishing a sustainable and responsible global supply chain for the lithium-ion batteries that can power the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a low carbon economy through mobile devices, electric vehicles and renewable energy systems. 

Since its establishment in 2017, the GBA has grown into a partnership with of more than 150 businesses, governments, academics, industry actors, international and non-governmental organisation. In 2022, the GBA launched its flagship initiative, the Battery Passport, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. The Battery Passport will become a legal requirement in Europe, by 2026, with other geographies likely to follow suit in the future. 

ERG is also a co-founder of the ReSource initiative, working together with CMOC, Glencore, Umicore and Tesla. The initiative uses blockchain to track cobalt and other battery materials in real operating conditions from the mine to an electric vehicle.

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