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Chinese company to pay DR Congo state miner $2 billion over cobalt dispute
Chinese company to pay DR Congo state miner $2 billion over cobalt dispute
by AFP Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) July 18, 2023

Chinese mining company CMOC Group has agreed to pay DR Congo partner Gecamines $2 billion over a royalties dispute, according to a stock exchange filing on Tuesday, after legal wrangling between the two sides left a mountain of copper and cobalt in limbo for months in the African country.

The CMOC-owned Tenke Fungurume mine was slapped with an export ban from July 2022 to April, after minority shareholder Gecamines accused the Chinese group of withholding information about the size of reserves at the mine.

As many as 13,000 tonnes of cobalt powder are thought to have been hoarded in the Tenke Fungurume mine -- equivalent to seven percent of the world's production last year.

It was stuck for over nine months, alongside an even larger stockpile of copper, until CMOC began shifting its giant stash of metals this year after the two sides reached a resolution in April.

The details of the deal were not released until Tuesday, when CMOC said in a stock exchange filing that its mine would pay Gecamines $800 million in a settlement payment and at least $1.2 billion of dividends over several years.

In the future, "Gecamines will be entitled to 20% of the total value of the project's subcontracting and the right to acquire a volume of production proportional to its 20% stake in TFM on market terms and in compliance with Congolese laws," CMOC said.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is Africa's largest mineral producer, and supplies over 70 percent of the world's cobalt, a metal critical to batteries used in electronics and electric cars.

The African nation relies heavily on its mining sector.

Tenke Fungurume, the world's second-largest cobalt mine, produced about 20,000 tonnes of copper and 1,500 tonnes of cobalt a month through 2022, according to company figures.

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