Oil and Gas

UPDATE 1-Congo state miner says not informed of Freeport's copper mine sale

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KINSHASA, May 10 (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo state miner Gecamines said on Tuesday it was not informed of Freeport-McMoRan Inc’s sale of its majority stake in the Tenke copper project and “will assert its rights.”

Freeport sold its 56 percent stake to China Molybdenum Co Ltd (CMOC) on Monday for $2.65 billion in cash. Gecamines holds a 20 percent stake in Tenke, one of the world’s largest copper mines, while Lundin Mining holds the remaining 24 percent.

“Gecamines decides to have its advisers examine the announced terms of the transaction with regards to its rights under the agreements binding it directly or indirectly to Freeport-McMoRan,” the company said in a statement.

Officials from the mines ministry and prime minister’s office also told Reuters on Tuesday that they had not been informed in advance of the Freeport sale.

Congolese authorities have raised objections to similar deals in the past. Last June, the government demanded that Ivanhoe Mines’ sale of a stake in a copper mine to Zijin Mining be suspended until Ivanhoe addressed its concerns.

The government dropped its objections in September, allowing the $412 million sale to go ahead as planned. (Reporting by Aaron Ross; Editing by Joe Bavier and Adrian Croft)