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TFM, a subsidiary of CMOC, becomes the first mine in Africa to receive The Copper Mark

2024-06-12 17:34:58

Recently, Tenke Fungurume Mining S.A. ("TFM”) of CMOC Group Ltd. ("CMOC”), a copper-cobalt mine in the DRC, was officially awarded The Copper Mark certificate in recognition of its responsible production practices, making TFM the first mine in Africa and the first Chinese-owned mine in the world to be awarded The Copper Mark.

The Copper Mark is a leading assurance framework launched in 2020 to meet the increasing international demand for responsible sourcing and production, and to promote responsible practices across the copper, molybdenum, nickel and zinc value chains. The Copper Mark is based on the independent third-party assessment of mines and smelters to verify that each facility meets the requirements of responsible production practices. The requirements of the Copper Mark cover all major environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, and copper producers who receive The Copper Mark will automatically be able to meet all three of the LME's Responsible Sourcing Requirements, namely Responsible Sourcing, Environmental, and Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems.  

Liang Wei, Vice President of ESG at CMOC, remarks that The Copper Mark is a voluntary program for all industry members, and that TFM began a series of preparations in 2022 and formally launched the validation process in 2023. In early 2024, TFM was independently assessed by an international audit team accredited by The Copper Mark. The validation process of The Copper Mark was conducted using the 32 different criteria of the Risk Readiness Assessment (RRA), that is codeveloped by the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI)  and the Copper Mark and includes issue areas such as legal compliance, labor relations, environmental management, greenhouse gas emissions, water management, mine closure and reclamation, community development, grievance mechanisms, stakeholder communication, and due diligence in mineral supply chains, which covers the entire production process of copper and cobalt products, from mining and beneficiation to smelting. During the audit, 447 employees and contractors as well as 56 external stakeholders such as community members, non-governmental organizations and government representatives were interviewed anonymously to fully validate the effectiveness of the management system.

“The Copper Mark certification is a key focus for CMOC to practice the highest ESG standards and achieve continuous improvement, as well as an important means of demonstrating responsible and sustainable production to customers, investors, government, communities, employees and other stakeholders.” Liang Wei said, “Obtaining The Copper Mark certificate is also conducive to the recognition of products on exchanges like LME, potentially leading to premiums.”  

Sun Ruiwen, President of CMOC, said, “In recent years, CMOC has gradually grown into an important copper producer and the largest cobalt producer in the world. While boosting production, the company has always been committed to supplying high-quality, responsible products for the global energy transition in the most responsible way. I am very pleased that TFM has become the first mine in Africa to receive The Copper Mark as a recognition of the company's commitment to sustainable development, encouraging us to continue to create jobs, expand investments, and create greater economic and social value in the DRC."

By the end of 2023, more than 70 mines and smelters had participated in The Copper Mark Assurance Process, of which 56 sites had been awarded The Copper Mark. The total output of mines awarded The Copper Mark reaches 30% of the world's copper production.

TFM is currently the world's fifth largest copper mine and the world's second largest cobalt mine, with five copper-cobalt production lines and an annual copper production capacity of 450,000 tons. In May this year, TFM produced more than 40,000 tons of copper. As a metal of the future, copper plays an irreplaceable role in the global transition to clean energy and the electricity demand brought about by development of artificial intelligence. In recent years, incremental supply from global copper mines has been relatively tight due to insufficient capital expenditure and declining ore grades of long-operating mines. With the construction of its two major projects of TFM and KFM, CMOC has become one of the few large-scale mining companies in the world that maintains a high growth in copper production, and has rapidly grown into one of the world's most important copper producers. According to the production guidance for 2024, CMOC will contribute an additional 150,000 tons of copper production, becoming the company with the largest increase in copper production in the world this year.