China Molybdenum, one of the largest copper and cobalt miners in the world has been ordered to stop controlling operations at Tenke Fungurume, where the Chinese control an 80% stake, while the DRC owns 20%.
Commercial Court of Lubumbashi issued the suspension Lubumbashi in favour of the government and its people. They effectively removed all Chinese directors from day-to-day operations of the mine for six months.
The dispute, which spilled into court, came after allegations by the government that its Chinese partners were understating income generated and the quantities of reserves yet to be mined, in the process defrauding the DRC of billions of dollars. Congo’s president, Felix Tshisekedi, last year named a commission to investigate the allegations.
The court ruling, stated for the next six months while the mine was under a judicial manager Sage Ngoie, a local engineer at the mine, the auditor would comb through the mine’s books to see the gravity of the allegations levelled against the Chinese by Gécamines, the state firm they are in partnership with.
China Molybdenum was funded by the Chinese government to buy Tenke Fungurume mine in 2016 as part of a grand plan of placing China at the summit of the electric car industry. In 2020, the mine in dispute was the second-largest source of cobalt as the DRC accounted for 70% of the global cobalt outlook.