China Molybdenum moves to acquire key Freeport copper mine for $2.7billion

By Dale Benton
The Tenke Fungurume mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, owned by US mining company Freeport-McMoRan, looks to be sold in a bid to reduce the compa...

The Tenke Fungurume mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, owned by US mining company Freeport-McMoRan, looks to be sold in a bid to reduce the company’s $20billion debt.

With copper prices falling in the last year, the move represents China’s mining companies benefiting from the relatively weaker bargaining positions that US and global companies are finding themselves in due to large debts and lower commodity prices.

China Molybdenum Co. Limited is the largest molybdenum producer in the world.

Freeport, like many companies in the mining industry, have spent the last year working hard to reduce net debts. Since the start of 2016, the company has overseen over $4billion in asset sales.

“We are committed to our immediate objective of reducing debt, while retaining a leading position in the global copper industry,” Freeport Chief Executive Richard Adkerson said in a statement.

The attainment of Tenke Fungurume is the second acquisition in less than a month for China Molybdenum. This follows the purchasing of Anglo American’s PLCS’ Brazilian niobium and phosphates business for £1.5billion late last month.

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