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Congo's Revenue Dispute With China Threatens Cobalt, Copper Exports

MIN READJul 20, 2022 | 22:19 GMT

A man holds a copper-rich piece at a mine in Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo, in July 2016. 

A man holds a copper-rich piece at a mine in Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo, in July 2016. 

(Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images)

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the ongoing revenue dispute between the shareholders of the massive Tenke Fungurume mine has brought exports to a halt. The mine’s Chinese owner will likely grant some concessions to ensure the suspension is quickly lifted, but even a temporary pause in shipments could disrupt global supplies of copper and cobalt. On July 16, Congolese court-appointed administrator Sage Ngoie Mbayo declared copper and cobalt exports would be suspended from the Tenke Fungurume mine -- which China Molybdenum (CMOC) owns and operates -- until at least July 24, citing CMOC’s refusal to pay alleged overdue royalties and share its export data. In response, CMOC said Ngoie does not have the authority to halt exports and assured operations would continue unhindered. But the official July 16 notice raises the potential of a prolonged interruption to exports from the Tenke Fungurume mine by indicating private negotiations between Ngoie...

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