(Adds quotes, context)
KINSHASA, Sept 7 The Democratic Republic of
Congo's state mining company Gecamines said on Wednesday it has
submitted an offer to buy Freeport McMoRan Inc's
majority stake in the Tenke copper project.
Freeport agreed in May to sell its 56 percent stake in
Tenke, one of the world's largest copper mines, to China
Molybdenum Co Ltd (CMOC) for $2.65 billion.
Toronto-based Lundin Mining, which holds a 24
percent stake, has until Sept. 15 to exercise its right of first
offer before any deal goes through.
Gecamines, which controls the remaining 20 percent, and
Congolese authorities have objected to the sale, which they were
not informed of beforehand.
Congo's mines minister said in May that he suspected
Freeport was hiding its true value.
Freeport did not immediately respond to a request for
comment on Wednesday.
It has previously said the transaction was conducted
transparently and in accordance with all applicable laws.
"For us, it's a matter of setting up a new joint venture
with new partners to facilitate the exit of Freeport and
reassure the state and the workers," Gecamines' interim
director-general Jacques Kamenga told Reuters.
He added that Gecamines had received "serious proposals from
potential industrial and financial partners". He did not specify
who but said CMOC's participation was not ruled out.
Freeport has not acknowledged that Gecamines has a right of
first offer for Tenke.
Congo, Africa's top copper exporter, mined 995,805 tonnes of
the metal in 2015, but output dropped nearly 14 percent in the
first half of this year as producers cut back due to low prices.
(Reporting by Aaron Ross; Editing by Nellie Peyton and Dale