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DRC liquidator moves in on First Quantum copper/cobalt project

A court-appointed liquidator said on Friday it has taken over the running of Toronto-listed First Quantum Minerals’ (FM.TO) Kingamyambo Musonoi Tailings (KMT) copper and cobalt project at Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of Congo.On Wednesday, the firm said a Congolese court had initiated proceedings to liquidate the $750 million project, the latest step in a row between the company and the government."It’s now down to me to organise all the administration (at Kolwezi)," court-appointed liquidator Eric Monga of Trade Service told Reuters on Friday following a visit to the site in Congo’s southern copperbelt."They went on site today with court sheriffs," a source based in Kolwezi and familiar with the site, which was sealed last September, told Reuters.Monga, heading the liquidation team, said he has been asked to evaluate the value of the assets and report back to the tribunal as quickly as possible, but did not specify a deadline."We want to determine the exact value of the assets in an objective way with the eyes of experts," Monga added.Congo’s appeals court ruled that liquidation proceedings be initiated with a view to selling all the assets in documents seen by Reuters and dated July 29.Congo’s mines minister Martin Kabwelulu confirmed this week he had signed a contract, yet to be given a presidential decree, that hands the site to a company registered in the British Virgin Islands named Highwinds Properties.First Quantum has initiated international arbitration proceedings at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris.The dispute began when authorities shut KMT last September after a protracted review flagged contract irregularities and production delays at the site, which has never produced metal on a commercial scale.

28 Saturday August 2010  8:58

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