China Moly buys 95% of DRC copper-cobalt mine from Freeport for $550m

Kisanfu is located 33 kilometres southwest of China Moly’s Tenke Fungurume operation, pictured here. (Image courtesy of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold).

China Molybdenum Co said on Sunday it had acquired a 95% stake in the Kisanfu copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from U.S.-based Freeport-McMoRan Inc for $550 million.

The Chinese company’s takeover of the undeveloped Kisanfu project – discussed as early as 2016 – boosts its reserves in the DRC, the world’s top producer of battery metal cobalt, where China Moly already operates the giant Tenke Fungurume mine.

Kisanfu holds an estimated 6.28 million tonnes of copper and 3.1 million tonnes of cobalt metal

The acquisition, by China Moly unit Natural Resource Elite Investment Ltd, was approved by the Luoyang-based company’s investment committee on Dec. 1 and was completed on Friday U.S. time, a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange said.

Kisanfu, which is around 33 kilometres (20.5 miles) southwest of Tenke Fungurume, holds an estimated 6.28 million tonnes of copper and 3.1 million tonnes of cobalt metal, said the filing, which mentioned synergies with China Moly’s other business in the DRC.

The DRC government holds the other 5% in the mine.

China Moly acquired a 56% stake in Tenke Fungurume in 2016 from Freeport, which was looking to cut debt, and at the same time entered negotiations to buy the U.S. miner’s stake in Kisanfu before talks ended the following year.

China Moly raised its stake in Tenke Fungurume to 80% in 2019.

(By Tom Daly; Editing by Barbara Lewis)

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