Kinshasa/London — The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is preparing to more than double a tax on two-thirds of global cobalt supply, potentially increasing the cost of the battery metal just as the world begins to embrace electric vehicles. The DRC, the world’s biggest cobalt producer, will increase royalties miners pay on exports of the metal to 5% from 2% if it opts to categorise cobalt as a "strategic substance", Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu told the country’s Senate last week. The new classification is part of an overhaul of mining legislation fiercely opposed by the industry, which says the law may deter investment. Under the revised code the tax on base metals including copper and cobalt will increase to 3.5% from 2%. If approved by the Senate, the law will also allow the state to select "strategic" metals, likely to include cobalt, and tax them at the higher rate of 5%, Kabwelulu told senators. A byproduct of copper and nickel mining used to harden steel, cobalt stepped ...

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