April 2, 2009 / 6:26 PM / 10 years ago

CRU/CESCO-Congo wrapping up mining review-Gecamines

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SANTIAGO, April 2 (Reuters) - The Democratic Republic of Congo is on the verge of finalizing mining contract agreements, including the massive Tenke-Fungurume project owned by Freeport-McMoRan FCX.TO and Lundin Mining (LUN.TO), an official with the state-owned mining company said Thursday.

“Tenke will be resolved in a few weeks... It will not be changed drastically,” Dieudonne Nduwa Mudikita, research and develoment director at state-owned Gecamines, said in an interview on the sidelines of the CRU/CESCO copper conference in Santiago.

Mudikita said talks with Katanga Mining (KAT.TO) were also on the verge of being finalized, and the state miner would then aim to finalize the new contract with First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO).

DRC launched the review of 61 mining contracts early in 2007, in order boost revenue from agreements that were mostly inked during the chaos of a 1998-2003 war.

The much-delayed process has weighed on the share prices of companies active in the country, which contains high-grade copper and cobalt deposits.

Freeport holds a 57.75 percent stake in Tenke-Fungurume, considered one of the world’s top copper/cobalt deposits, while Lundin holds 24.75 percent. First Quantum is developing the Kolwezi copper and cobalt mine, while Katanga also operates a copper and cobalt mine complex in the country.

The country has become increasingly important for an industry that has made few large discoveries in recent years. (Reporting by Cameron French and Reese Ewing; Editing by John Picinich)

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