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Court rules in favor of Gecamines, appoints administrator to run Tenke Fungurume

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Court rules in favor of Gecamines, appoints administrator to run Tenke Fungurume

The Commercial Court of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo ruled in favor of Gecamines SARL and appointed an administrator to run the Tenke Fungurume copper mine for six months, extendable to a year, Bloomberg News wrote Dec. 8, citing a Dec. 2 judgment sent by a source who asked not to be identified.

According to court documents, Gecamines petitioned the court to block the meeting that Freeport-McMoRan Inc. set to convene the board of Tenke Fungurume Mining S.A.R.L. for the approval of the installation of new China Molybdenum Co. Ltd. directors after the Chinese company completed the acquisition of Freeport's Tenke Fungurume stakes in November.

State-owned Gecamines opposed the sale and even launched an arbitration in Paris in October to block the deal, claiming that it should have been given the right to pre-empt China Molybdenum's purchase of the controlling stake, being a 20% owner in the mine.

The cited court documents noted that Freeport and China Molybdenum handed Gecamines a "fait accompli" or an accomplished fact, having completed the sale while the arbitration was ongoing.

However, Tenke Fungurume's management said in an emailed statement that the implementation of the commercial court's ruling has been suspended by the General Inspectorate of Judicial and Prison Services and that no administrator was appointed. The group is also pursuing legal actions to enforce its rights.

Gecamines declined to comment on the ruling, while Freeport and China Molybdenum did not immediately respond to requests for statements on the issue.