Copper miner Freeport-McMoran paid $33m to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s state miner Gecamines to resolve a dispute over its $2.65bn sale of the largest copper mine in the country.

The settlement removes the final hurdle for the mine to be sold to China Molybdenum, giving the Chinese company a prized copper asset at a time of rising prices for the red metal.

The payment was Freeport’s share of a settlement agreement reached with Gecamines, China Moly, and the other parties involved in the sale of the Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt mine, Freeport said in its earnings statement.

In November Gecamines filed a case at an international arbitration court in Paris in an attempt to stop Freeport from going ahead with the sale of its majority stake in the mine. It claimed it had not been adequately consulted on the sale of Tenke, in which it holds a 20 per cent stake.

The remaining share of Tenke was sold in November to a Chinese private equity firm, BHR Partners. On Sunday China Moly said it had signed an agreement with BHR to support its acquisition of the stake to ensure “the transaction completes successfully.” It also said it had a right to purchase BHR’s stake in the future if it decided to exit.

Gecamines did not immediately respond to a request for comment through its public relations agency.

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