AFTER transitioning from explorer to producer in 2016 with Portia Gold Mine coming on stream, Havilah Resources is increasing focus on its suite of copper projects, boosted by strong interest in cobalt. The company will continue to explore near-mine opportunities at Portia, but is advancing plans for its copper projects.

The strategy for its suite of projects in South Australia is supported by cash flow from Portia, Havilah’s proven exploration prowess, and its development and operational success with partner Consolidated Mining and Civil (CMC).

Managing director Chris Giles says that while gold will remain a good high margin business, supported by a lower Australian dollar, copper is a solid longer term story backed by increasing consumerism in developing economies along with the impending boom in electric vehicles and renewable energy.

“New copper developments have slowed at the time when usage is expanding with the highly copper intensive renewable energy generation and storage revolution, not to mention electric vehicles and antimicrobial applications.”

He says the company’s copper story is enhanced by cobalt as there are appreciable quantities of the metal in Havilah’s copper resources, particularly at the Kalkaroo and Mutooroo deposits.

“I believe this will be the decade of copper and although there is plenty of hype around cobalt, the fundamentals are there for strong demand, which will add icing to our copper cake.”

Havilah aims to implement a medium term strategy that will see the cobalt resources developed in conjunction with the copper resources. It is the third element is Havilah’s strategic plan to monetise its multi-metal portfolio.

Cobalt is a by-product of nickel or copper mines and there are no standalone mines. More than 50% of global production comes out of the DRC. The metal still has its traditional uses, which put it in great demand in the emerging economies of China, India and South East Asia, while the rapidly growing electric vehicle (EV) and renewable energy markets use a lot of copper.

The average EV uses about 80kg of copper as opposed to around 20kg in conventional vehicles. EVs alone could boost copper consumption by 50% while renewable energy is also copper intensive. Cobalt’s chief usage is in lithium batteries and tech companies like Tesla and Apple are believed to be looking outside the DRC for the cobalt they need.