Freeport's Congo mine rumored under threat of shut down
The Democratic Republic of Congo's deputy Mines Minister, Victor Kasongo, raised alarms in the global mining community last week by questioning contract negotiations with mining companies, including Arizona-based Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold.
Mineweb.com editorialized yesterday that "it is no secret that Freeport-McMoRan's 58.8%-held Tenke Fungurume copper cobalt mine has been threatened with a shut down in six month's time. Whether this is true or not, the atmosphere is dark and cold." [right, credit Tenke.com]
They note that Freeport and its partners have spent over $1.8 billion so far but that if the Congo is returning to it's 'dark days,' further investment from the entire industry may be at risk. Other government officials have offered conflicting statements about negotiations, so the situation seems unsettled.
The first copper production at Tenke Fungurume began within the past couple of months. It's being called the largest undeveloped copper-cobalt resource in the world. The average annual production at is expected to be about 250 million pounds of copper and approximately 18 million pounds of cobalt. The company's web site reports that plans are to have mining, processing, and support facilities with ultimate capability of producing 1 billion pounds of copper per year for 50-100 years. Freeport owns 57.75% of the project.