China Molybdenum said “significant progress” had been made on a dispute over the Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The dispute between China Moly and the Central African nation’s state mining company Gecamines started in August last year when the government formed a commission to reassess reserves and resources at the mine to “fairly lay claims to their rights”.
China Moly holds an 80% stake in the mine, while Gecamines holds the remainder.
A spokesman for the Congo government, Patrick Muyaya Katembwe, said the judicial procedure “remains suspended with a view to restoring a climate of exchange and harmony between the parties”, adding that the government had proposed a roadmap.
“This marks an important step forward … regarding the additional royalty payment for increase of reserves at [the mine],” China Moly said in a statement late on Wednesday.
The Chinese firm and Gecamines would jointly hire an internationally recognised third party to conduct the assessment as required by the Congo government, and to promote a “fundamental settlement” of the dispute.
“The communique … further strengthens our confidence to invest in the DRC,” China Moly cited its chief executive Sun Ruiwen as saying in the statement.
Sun also vowed to push forward construction of the Tenke Fungurume and Kisanfu copper and cobalt mines in 2022, China Moly said.
The Tenke Fungurume project produced 209,120 tonnes of copper and 18,501 tonnes of cobalt in 2021. It is hoping for an annual output of 227,000-267,000 tonnes of copper and 17,500-20,500 tonnes of cobalt in 2022.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell