Congo Copper Deal With China May Draw $2 Billion of Investment – by Thomas Wilson (Bloomberg News – August 15, 2016)

Gecamines, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s state-owned mining company, said China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group may invest as much as $2 billion to develop its most prospective copper asset.

The Congolese miner in June described the agreement, through which CNMC will finance, build and operate a copper-processing facility at the Deziwa concession before transferring full ownership back to the state-owned miner, as a “new type of partnership” designed to increase revenue for the state, but has yet to provide full details of the arrangement.

“It’s not a partnership, it’s a financing agreement, a loan to be reimbursed,” Kandolo Mafuta, Gecamines’ director of partnerships, told a mining conference Aug. 11 in the capital, Kinshasa. “Total investment could be $2 billion,” he said in an interview at the meeting.

In June, Gecamines said that CNMC would finance the construction of the plant with an initial capacity for 80,000 metric tons of copper a year, in return for a 51 percent stake in the project.

CNMC will then be reimbursed through an off-take agreement over a fixed period that had not yet been agreed before full ownership is transferred back, Gecamines said at the time. A decision on a second phase of the project, which would increase output to 200,000 tons a year, would be taken at a later date, the company said.

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