ENRC settles Congo dispute

KAZAKH miner ENRC has agreed a $1.25bn (£800m) settlement with Canada’s First Quantum Minerals to end a long-running dispute over ownership of the Kolwezi project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The London-listed miner said yesterday the deal would enable it to start developing its operations at the copper-cobalt Kolwezi Tailings project.

ENRC will pay $750m plus a deferred consideration of $500m as part of the settlement with First Quantum, the former owner of Kolwezi until its licence was revoked by the DR Congo in 2009.

The dispute had been expected to go to trial after a court upheld First Quantum’s $2bn claim for damages for the revoked Congo asset in September.

Shares in FTSE 100-listed ENRC lifted by around four per cent after the announcement of the settlement.

The licence was bought by ENRC from the Israeli businessman Dan Gertler (pictured) in 2010.

“Throughout, I have said that there was absolutely nothing dodgy about the Kolwezi transaction – we conducted the most due diligence I have ever seen on a transaction and the noise coming from First Quantum was intended wholly to drive up the price of the inevitable sale of the plant and equipment,” said former ENRC non-executive director Ken Olisa last night.

Olisa always defended ENRC’s position on the Kolwezi ownership dispute but he was voted off the board last year by the group’s controlling shareholders.