Congo's Gecamines buys out partner in copper joint venture
KINSHASA, Sept 10 |
KINSHASA, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Congo's state-owned mining company Gecamines has agreed to buy out its partner in a joint venture covering two concessions in mineral-rich Katanga province with estimated copper reserves of 4.6 million tonnes, officials said on Monday.
Copperbelt Minerals Limited, which has operated in Democratic Republic of Congo since 2005, held a 68 percent stake in the Deziwa and Ecaille C projects.
British Virgin Islands-registered Copperbelt's chief financial officer Allan Marter said an agreement had been reached with the state miner, which holds the remaining 32 percent, to buy his company's stake.
According to a joint statement released on Monday both parties agreed to waive litigation and to terminate the joint venture. Neither company reported the price Gecamines paid for the properties.
Gecamines' CEO told Reuters that the deal was amicable despite "many differences" between the two partners.
"This is all part of our strategy to become a major producer...Gecamines needs reserves to develop its own activities," Ahmed Kalej Nkand told Reuters by telephone.
Once one of Africa's largest copper producers, Gecamines been hit by over two decades of decline as production dwindled and debts mounted to an estimated $1.5 billion.
The company still owns dozens of exploration concessions in the country's copper-producing south, however, and has stakes in more than 20 mining companies.
Gecamines last year announced a $930 million overhaul aimed at turning the company around and reaching a production target of 100,000 tonnes a year in 2015, up from a current level of around 20,000 tonnes. (Reporting by Jonny Hogg; Editing by Joe Bavier and David Cowell)
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