(Bloomberg) --

Trading house Trafigura Group Ltd. has agreed to fund the development of two cobalt projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo after prices of the key battery metal more than doubled last year.

Trafigura will provide $600 million in financing for Shalina Resources’ Chemaf unit, which produces the metal in the DRC. In return, Trafigura will market the cobalt hydroxide produced from Chemaf’s assets.

The global push toward a greener future is firing up demand for battery metals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel, at a time when the pandemic has exacerbated supply constraints. That saw cobalt prices surge last year to the highest level since 2018.

Congo produces more than two-thirds of the world’s cobalt, with Trafigura’s trading rival Glencore Plc the single biggest supplier.

Trafigura said Wednesday that Shalina will use the funds to complete the mechanization of its Mutoshi mine as well as expanding a processing plant in Lubumbashi. Trafigura said it intends to syndicate the majority of its financing to international banks.

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