Lundin and Freeport Move Ahead on Tenke Selloff

Lundin Mining and Freeport McMo- Ran reported separate transactions in mid-November designed to divest the companies of their interests in the Tenke Fungurume open-pit copper-cobalt mining and processing operation in Katanga province, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). DRC state mining company Gécamines, which holds a 20% interest in Tenke Fungurue, expressed opposition to the transactions. “The concerted withdrawal of Lundin and Freeport, without taking into account Gécamines’ rights, would obviously result in forcing Gécamines into a new partnership with totally new and non-chosen companies,” Gécamines said in a statement, as reported by Reuters.

Freeport CEO Richard Adkerson expressed hope that Gécamines’ objections could be resolved through negotiations. Lundin had not commented on Gecamines’ objections as of November 21. Leading up to Gécamines’ objections, Freeport reported on November 11 completion of the sale of its effective 56% interest in Tenke Fungurume to China Molybdenum Co. for $2.65 billion in cash. Under the terms of the agreement, Freeport could also receive contingent consideration of up to $120 million in cash, consisting of $60 million if the average copper price exceeds $3.50 per pound (lb) and $60 million if the average cobalt price exceeds $20/lb, both during calendar years 2018 and 2019.

Lundin reported on November 15 that it had entered into a definitive agreement to sell its effective 24% interest in Tenke Fungurume to an affiliate of BHR Partners, a Chinese private equity firm, for $1.136 billion in cash and contingent consideration of up to $51.4 million.

Tenke Fungurume is an open-pit copper- cobalt mining and processing operation that produces copper cathodes and cobalt hydroxide. The mine produced 449 million lb of copper and 36 million lb of contained cobalt in 2015. Plant feed averaged 14,900 mt/d at a grade of 4% copper and 0.43% cobalt. As of December 31, 2015, Tenke Fungurume had consolidated recoverable reserves totaling 7.2 billion lb of copper and 874 million lb of cobalt.

As featured in Womp 2016 Vol 12 -