China Marks Cobalt, Copper Ascendancy in Congo With New Group – by William Clowes (Bloomberg News – June 18, 2018)

More than 30 Chinese companies active in the Democratic Republic of Congo formed a business association backed by both countries’ governments, further cementing China’s ascendancy in copper and cobalt production in the central African nation.

The 35-member Union of Mining Companies with Chinese Capital will facilitate “communication and exchange between the Chinese mining companies and the government of our country,” Cheng Yonghong, the group’s president, said at an inauguration event in Lubumbashi in southeast Congo on June 16.

The group, known by the French acronym USMCC, was founded at the initiative of China’s embassy and on the advice of Congo’s mines minister, he said.

Members include China Molybdenum Co.-controlled Tenke Fungurume Mining and MMG Ltd., as well as subsidiaries of China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group and Huayou Cobalt Co. Sicomines, a joint venture between Sinohydro Corp., China Railway Construction Corp. and the Congolese state, has also joined.

Chinese companies have invested aggressively in recent years in the Katanga region, where Congo’s copper and cobalt deposits are located, as some western miners left the country.

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