January 22, 2017 / 1:32 PM / a year ago

China Moly to help BHR acquire stake in Congo's Tenke copper mine

KINSHASA, Jan 22 (Reuters) - China Molybdenum Co Ltd (CMOC) said on Sunday that it has signed an agreement with Chinese private equity firm BHR to support BHR’s acquisition of a 24 percent stake in Democratic Republic of Congo’s giant Tenke copper mine.

CMOC says it is the majority owner of Tenke after completing a $2.65 billion purchase of a 56 percent stake in the mine, one of the world’s largest, from Freeport McMoRan Inc in November. BHR agreed to buy a minority stake from Canada’s Lundin Mining in November for about $1.14 billion.

Congo state mining company Gecamines, which has a 20 percent stake, has tried for months to block both sales, arguing it has a right to pre-empt them.

Gecamines representatives and Congo’s mines minister could not be immediately reached for comment on Sunday.

“CMOC will provide financial guarantees and other assistance to BHR to ensure that BHR’s acquisition of Lundin’s 24 percent indirect stake in (Tenke) completes successfully in a timely manner,” CMOC said in a statement.

It added that CMOC and BHR have entered into an agreement, which would give CMOC the right to purchase BHR’s stake at a pre-agreed price if BHR leaves the project.

Congo is Africa’s largest copper producer, mining about 1 million tonnes of the metal in 2014 and 2015. Tenke has proven and probable reserves of 3.8 million tonnes of contained copper, according to CMOC. (Reporting By Aaron Ross; Editing by Joe Bavier and Elaine Hardcastle)

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