Chinese miner CMOC Group has resolved a prolonged dispute with Congolese state-controlled mining company Gécamines over royalties from the Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt mine.

This settlement will help the mine’s battery metals stock to start entering international markets.

CMOC is currently responsible for nearly 15% of global output.

According to the Financial Times, Tenke’s monthly production of copper and cobalt is around 20,000 tonnes (t) and 1,500t, respectively.

However, the release of the stockpiles is said to put more downward pressure on the price of cobalt, which has dropped in the past year due to poor demand.

Commenting on the latest settlement, CMOC said in a stock exchange filing: “This is the result of candid communication and friendly consultations between the two parties, and a ‘win-win’ after taking into consideration of the short-term interests and long-term development of the relationship between both parties based on the history of the project.

“The company and Gécamines will further strengthen the joint venture partnership, and jointly expand cooperation in industries, including the new energy industry, committing to promoting the economic development and the well-being of the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo], and making greater contributions to the friendly cooperation between China and the DRC.”

The row started in August 2021 after the Congalese government established a commission to reassess the reserves and resources at the Tenke mine with an aim to “fairly lay claim to their rights”.

The action was triggered by the government’s suspicion that CMOC understated the mine’s reserves to cut the royalties it pays to Gécamines.

Last year, a temporary administrator took control of Tenke and ordered CMOC to pause exports of the mine’s production.

However, the state miner halted its court case against CMOC in March 2022 to end the dispute. 

The Chinese company owns an 80% stake in the Tenke mine while Gécamines holds the remaining 20% interest.