China Molybdenum Co said on Friday it would spend $2.51-billion to roughly double production of copper and cobalt at its giant Tenke Fungurume mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The bumper investment comes as prices for both metals have jumped in 2021 amid a demand rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Copper is up 23% year to date on the London Metal Exchange after hitting a record high of almost $10 750 a tonne in May, while cobalt is up 64% at about $52 000 a tonne.
China Moly said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange that the $2.5-billion investment - which will go toward building three ore production lines - would boost average annual copper output at the mine by 200,000 tonnes and increase cobalt output by 17 000 tonnes.
"The project is expected to be completed and put into production in 2023," it said, adding the end-products would be copper cathodes and cobalt hydroxide.
China Moly has an 80% stake in Tenke Fungurume, one of the world's largest copper-cobalt deposits. The mine produced around 182 600 tonnes of copper and 15 400 tonnes of cobalt in 2020. Output is forecast to be higher this year.
The company said it would finance the $2.5-billion investment with its own funds and through bank loans.