China is making another big bet on copper in the Democratic Republic of Congo, deepening its presence in a country that has proved very difficult for western business. The DRC holds huge reserves of copper but is also one of the hardest countries to navigate. It has problems with security, transparency and infrastructure. A case in point is Glencore, the biggest producer of copper in the DRC. The company is facing three court cases and a possible UK bribery probe related to its dealings in the DRC, as well as a tax hike and tougher mining laws. Citic Metal, a Chinese conglomerate, has agreed to spend about $555m for a 20% stake in Ivanhoe Mines, which holds the Kipushi zinc and Kamoa-Kakula copper projects. China’s Zijin Mining Group already owns almost 10% of Ivanhoe. The investment shows how China, the world’s biggest commodity consumer, is looking to Africa to secure future natural resource supplies and is positioning industry to take advantage of the move to battery and electric...

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