Democratic Republic of Congo’s state cobalt monopoly plans to start buying artisanal cobalt in January, its CEO Jean-Dominique Takis said in an interview at the Reuters Next conference, as the world’s biggest producer of the metal tries to ramp up revenue. Cobalt, which is trading at around $62,000 a tonne, is used in many of the batteries that power electric vehicles, sales of which are expected to soar as the world strives to cut carbon emissions. The Congo set up Entreprise Generale du Cobalt (EGC) to buy, process, and market all the artisanal cobalt produced in the country, which miners usually dig by hand and sell to unregulated middlemen who trade it.

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