The expansion will include construction of three ore production lines, which are expected to increase the mine’s average annual copper output by 200,000 tonnes and cobalt output by 17,000 tonnes


TFM expansion will include addition of three ore production lines. (Credit: Khusen Rustamov/Pixabay)

China Molybdenum has announced an investment of $2.51bn to expand production capacity of its Tenke Fungurume mine (TFM) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Expected to be come online in 2023, the expansion project will include construction of three ore production lines.

The production lines are estimated to expand the mine’s average annual copper output by 200,000 tonnes and cobalt output by 17,000 tonnes.

China Moly intends to finance the expansion project from its own funds and loans from banks, Reuters reported.

In July this year, the company commenced a trial production at another expansion site at the mine, with a design capacity to process 3.3 million tonnes of ore per year.

The expansion project is expected to produce 88,500 tonnes of copper cathode and 7,280 tonnes of cobalt hydroxide.

Covering an area of more than 1,500km2 within Katanga Province in the south eastern part of DRC, the Tenke Fungurume mine is one of a highest grade copper and cobalt mines in the world.

The mine produced 182,600 tonnes of copper and 15,400 tonnes of cobalt last year.

China Molybdenum plans to increase the copper production to 187,300 – 228,900 tonnes and cobalt to at 16,500 – 20,100 tonnes this year.

The company earlier stated: “The expansion can increase daily ore processing capacity by 10,000 tonnes… to 25,000 tonnes, copper and cobalt annual production will be lifted significantly.”

In 2016, the company bought a controlling stake in the Tenke Fungurume mine from US miner Freeport-McMoRan for $2.6bn.

Later, China Molybdenum increased its stake in the mine to 80% by making an additional investment of $1.14bn in 2019.

The DRC’s Gecamines holds the remaining 20% stake in the mine, which produced its first copper cathode in March 2009.

In April this year, China Moly agreed to sell a stake in the Kisanfu copper-cobalt mine in the DRC to Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) for $137.5m.

Discovered by Freeport-McMoRan, Kisanfu is a large, undeveloped cobalt and copper resource located in the Lualaba Province.

The Kisanfu property holds a resource inventory of 365Mt grading 1.72% Cu and 0.85% Co. It contains nearly 6.3Mt copper and 3.1Mt cobalt.