China Molybdenum has reportedly said that, despite reports to the contrary from government regulators, there has been no change in control of Tenke Fungurume Mining in Congo.
The statement to Reuters came after a state mining company official in Congo claimed a temporary administrator had taken over the cobalt producer, considered the second largest globally
Specifically, the secretary-general of Congo’s state mining company Gecamines told Reuters late last week that a court-appointed temporary administrator had taken over amid a dispute between TFM shareholders. Gecamines owns 20%, while the 80% balance is held by China Moly.
“There is no change in the management right of TFM, and production and operations are running as usual,” China Molybdenum spokesperson Vincent Zhou told the news service.
According to Reuters, a court had appointed administrator Sage Ngoie Mbayo in February for a period of six months in response to a claim brought by Gecamines. However, implementation of the ruling was suspended after Congo’s government called for an investigation.
In a letter dated 1 June and seen by Reuters, Justice Minister Ruth Mutombo ordered that it be enforced.
Ngoie, who was named Gecamines’ representative to TFM shortly before being appointed temporary administrator, officially took charge 9 June, Gecamines secretary-general Patrice Pungwe said in the report. Moreover, in a video filmed at TFM’s offices, Ngoie declared he was now in control.
“At this time, TFM is run by me. It is not run by Gecamines or by CMOC (China Moly),” he said, according to Reuters.
The dispute and issues go back to August 2021, when Congo’s government announced it had formed a commission to reassess TFM’s reserves and resources.
China Moly and Gecamines are “continuing to move forward” with talks around royalty payments, Zhou said last week.
TFM produced 18,501 tonnes of cobalt and 209,120 tonnes of copper last year, according to China Moly. It aims to produce 227,000-267,000 tonnes of copper and 17,500-20,500 tonnes of cobalt in 2022.