HomeBase MetalsDRC copper and cobalt production to double

DRC copper and cobalt production to double

The Tenke Fungurume
copper/cobalt project
in the DRC
Kinshasa, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 28 April 2010 – Copper and cobalt production from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will more than double over the next two years signaling a surge in revenues, according to a government forecast obtained by Reuters.

The report explains that the projected rise in output, the bulk of which is expected to come from Freeport-MacMoRan’s Tenke Fungurume mine, could pad coffers in the vast central African state, where the two minerals already represent about 75% of exports.

Copper production will rise to 851 608 tonnes in 2012 from an estimated 409 935 tonnes this year, while cobalt output will hit 91 355 tonnes from 39 327 tonnes over the same period, according to the forecast.

The outlook was prepared by the mines ministry following government consultations with mining executives earlier this year, and was provided to Reuters by a member of the commission which drafted it, who requested anonymity.

The bullish forecast comes as Freeport executives anticipate an agreement soon with the DRC government over a lingering contract review that has so far held up expansion of the giant Tenke Fungurume mine.

Freeport holds a 57.75 % share in the project. The remaining interests are held by Canada’s Lundin Mining Corp, with 24.75%, and state-owned Gecamines with 17.5%.

The government document “’ which also details gold, diamond, zinc and other minerals output to 2015 “’ predicts government revenues from the mining industry will rise to US$88 million (R660 million) this year, which is triple the 2009 intake.

“Regarding revenue, we expect to achieve more despite the recession that hit western economies, thanks to growth in emerging consumer countries such as China and India,” says the document.

It acknowledges that "the Congolese mining sector is riddled with fraud and smuggling" and suggests a series of measures to improve its financial, social and environmental performance, including the establishment of government-run trading centres and enhancement of traceability.