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With New Lockdowns in South Africa Threatening to Slow Cobalt Exports to China, Prices For the Strategically Important Metal Are Going Up

A medical worker in the COVID-19 ward of the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria on January 11, 2021. Phill Magakoe / AFP

Investors are becoming increasingly worried that South Africa’s recent decision to close 20 land ports will adversely impact the flow of cobalt from mines in the DR Congo to customers in China. President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announced a series of new lockdown measures in an effort to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the country.

But, the president’s measures did include a number of exceptions, including rail cargo for commodities like cobalt, which will continue to move to the Port of Durban.

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