October 3, 2019 / 3:23 PM / 2 months ago

Canada's Fortune Minerals scales back mine on weak cobalt prices

(Reuters) - Canada’s Fortune Minerals Ltd said on Thursday it would shelve plans to upsize its early-stage cobalt mine in the country’s far north while it continues to hunt for a strategic partner.

The company’s decision to scale back plans at its proposed Nico development in Canada’s Northwest Territories comes after cobalt prices, hit by oversupply, have fallen from $47,000 per tonne in January to around $35,470.

Falling prices for the critical battery ingredient prompted Glencore in August to halt output for two years at its giant Mutanda copper and cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

London, Ontario-based Fortune Minerals said current prices do not justify expanding the daily mill production rate to 6,000 tonnes from 4,650 tonnes at its proposed Nico project, which would also produce gold and bismuth.

“An environment that has seen curtailment from the world’s largest cobalt mines is not conducive for an expanded, capital intensive project at this time,” Chief Executive Robin Goad said in a statement.

The company said it is continuing discussions with potential strategic partners.

Reporting by Jeff Lewis, Editing by Franklin Paul and Chris Reese

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