China’s CMOC to boost Congo copper output after ending row with Gecamines

KINSHASA (Reuters) – China’s CMOC Group will raise its copper output in Democratic Republic of Congo to 600,000 metric tons next year, after it recently agreed to end a dispute with state-miner Gecamines, it said on Thursday.

The Chinese miner said it is ramping up output at Tenke Fungurume Mining (TFM), where exports of copper and cobalt had been banned until May this year following a row with Gecamines that it recently agreed to settle.

More production lines at the TFM mine will raise copper output to 450,000 tons next year, CMOC said. The company aims to produce an additional 150,000 tons of copper at KFM mine, formerly known as Kisanfu, which started producing this year.

The Chinese miner didn’t provide next year’s output forecast for cobalt.

CMOC produced 254,286 tons of copper and 20,286 tons of cobalt from the mines in Congo last year.

The output from Congo mines would place CMOC within the ranks of the world’s top 10 producers, it said, adding that it will surpass Glencore as the world’s top cobalt producer.

Congo is the world’s top cobalt supplier and No. 3 copper producer after Peru and Chile.

“Considering the great potential of TFM and KFM in their huge resources, CMOC is committed to studying the feasibility of further expansion as when power supply shortage is further eased in the DRC,” CMOC Vice President Zhou Jun said.

CMOC resumed shipments of copper and cobalt in May after a ban that lasted nearly a year due to a dispute with Congolese authorities.

“Since the export resumed in May, transport of the products has been going smoothly. We expect to de-stock by the end of the month when around 240,000 tons of copper in stock will be transported,” Jun said.

(Reporting by Sonia Rolley and Felix Njini; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by David Evans and Andrea Ricci)