Congo takes Freeport, Lundin to court over sale of Tenke Fungurume – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – October 19, 2016)

In May Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE:FCX) announced the sale of its Tenke Fungurume copper mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to China Molybdenum (CMOC) for up to $2.65 billion, a crucial part of the Phoenix-based company’s debt reduction program.

But exiting the DRC is proving to be as complicated as operating a mine in the troubled central African country. Now Gecamines, the state-owned mining company, is taking Freeport and Canada’s Lundin Mining (TSX:LUN) — which through a Bermuda-based company indirectly owns 24% of Tenke — to international courts.

The move, Agence Ecofin reports (in French), aims to force both companies to restructure the terms of their exit from Tenke, known as TFM, one of the country’s biggest mines.

According to the news agency, Gecamines is demanding, among other things, that any amendments to the indirect ownership of TFM be blocked unless authorized by the state miner.

On top of that issue, Freeport has been negotiating with partner Lundin, which is entitled by a “right of first offer” to supplant any bids for the copper mine by matching them, so it can finally proceed with the agreed sale of it stake in Tenke to China Molybdenum.

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