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Tenke Fungurume Deposit, Democratic Republic of Congo

Tenke Fungurume is one of the largest copper and cobalt deposits in the world. As a result of this mine, local communities are left with nothing, and compensations do not equate to their livelihood loss.


Tenke Fungurume is one of the largest copper and cobalt mining deposits in the world. It is located in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), approximately 180 km northwest of the provincial capital of Lubumbashi in the old Katanga Province, about 150 km north of the Zambian border. The name of the mine comes from the two closest towns in the area, Fungurume, located 195 km from Lubumbashi and 125 km from Kolwezi, and the town Tenke, located around 30 km from Fungurume [1][2].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Tenke Fungurume Deposit, Democratic Republic of Congo
Country:Congo, Dem. Rep.
State or province: Lualaba
Location of conflict: Kolwezi
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Copper
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Tenke Fungurume is an open-pit mine located in the old Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt deposits are part of the Central African Copper belt [15]. TFM is one of the highest-grade copper and cobalt mines globally. It includes two mining concessions extending over 1,437 Km2. Production of the mine started in 2009 [2], [4], [5]. The Tenke Fungurume Mine includes all the mining, processing, and general infrastructure of the Tenke Fungurume Concession. The deposit is set by the Kwatebala, Fungurume, Fwaulu, Kansalawile, Mambilima, Mwandinkomba, Pumpi, Tenke, Fungurume VI, Kazinyanga, Kato L3K, Shinkusu, Zikule and Mudilandima deposits [16].

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Project area:143,700
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/01/2009
Company names or state enterprises:Lundin Mining from Canada
China Molybdenum Co. Ltd from China
Gécamines public company from Congo, Dem. Rep.
Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold from United States of America
Relevant government actors:Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Pact:
Action Contre l'Impunité pour les Droits Humains (ACIDH):
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Artisanal miners
Industrial workers
Informal workers
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Boycotts of companies-products
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The mine is still operating, and it seems that human rights are still being violated. Just recently, in 2019, artisanal miners were pushed out and violent clashes occurred. Labour conditions do not seem to have improved much.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

[15] Tenke Fungurume Mining, “Environmental and Social Impact Assessment,” no. March, pp. 1–7, 2003
[click to view]

[21] A new mining code for the DRC

After the presidency of President Joseph Kabila, a new mining code with changes has been approved in 2018.

10 August 2018

DLA Piper
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] Counter Balance: Challenging the EIB, “Soul mining: The EIB ’ s role in the Tenke- Fungurume Mine, DRC,” no. September, 2008.
[click to view]

[2] African Development Bank, “Tenke Fungurume Copper & Cobalt Project,” Procedia Manuf., vol. 30, no. 22 Jan, pp. 588–595, 2007.
[click to view]

[3] Southern Africa Resource Watch, “Freeport mcmoran versus the people of Fungurume: How the largest mining investment in DRC has brought poverty not prosperity,” 2012.
[click to view]

[4] F. Scheele, E. De Haan, and V. Kiezebrink, Cobalt blues, no. April. 2016.

[6] L. Prause, Conflicts related to resources: The case of cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Elsevier Inc., 2020.

[7] S. van den Brink, R. Kleijn, B. Sprecher, and A. Tukker, “Identifying supply risks by mapping the cobalt supply chain,” Resour. Conserv. Recycl., vol. 156, no. January, p. 104743, 2020.

[8] É. Lèbre et al., “The social and environmental complexities of extracting energy transition metals,” Nat. Commun., vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 1–8, 2020

[9] Global Witness, “Regime cash machine report,” 2017.

[10] ACIDH, “Unheard Voices, Mining Activities in the Katanga Province and the Impact on Local Communities,” Encephale, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 59–65, 2011.
[click to view]

[16] Lundin Mining Corporation, “Technical report - resource and reserve update for the Tenke Fungurume Mine,” 2014.
[click to view]

[5] Major Mines & Projects, “Tenke Fungurume Mine.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01-Jun-2021].
[click to view]

[11] Political Violence at a Glance, “The Future of Conflict in Mining.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 02-Jun-2021].
[click to view]

[12] Reuters, “Congo deploys army to protect China Moly’s copper mine from illegal miners.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 02-Jun-2021]
[click to view]

[13] Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, “DRC: Crisis in mines requires sustainable solution, says Amnesty International.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 02-Jun-2021].
[click to view]

[14] Land Portal, “Freeport McMoran versus the People of Fungurume: How the largest mining investment in DRC has brought poverty not prosperity.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 02-Jun-2021].
[click to view]

[17] Mining (dot) Com, “China Moly’s Congo copper-cobalt mine expects stable output this year.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 02-Jun-2021].
[click to view]

[18] Argus Media, “China’s CMOC reduces cobalt production in 2020.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 02-Jun-2021].
[click to view]

[19] Crisis group - Mineral Concessions: Avoiding Conflict in DR Congo’s Mining Heartland
[click to view]

[20] - DRC: Withdraw armed forces from Fungurume mines to avert bloodshed

Amnesty International

1 July 2019
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Allegra Leandra Piazza, [email protected] and Tatiana Dubois Escorsell
Last update30/06/2021
Conflict ID:5572
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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