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DRC copper exports rising by 25%

Katanga Province
governor Moise
Lubumbashi, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 18 November 2010 – Exports from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s southern copper-lands will rise 25% to over 1Mt next year, due to renewed investor confidence following a government mining contract review.

Katanga Province governor Moise Katumbi said companies and their backers were boosting spending following the conclusion of the review last month, which resulted in Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold’s conceding only a small share of its huge Tenke Fungurume copper project to the state.

The deal ended years of uncertainty in the mining sector of the DRC, and analysts widely viewed the outcome as positive for the company, which retained the bulk of its controlling interest in the project.

“After Tenke got its re-visitation, even the people who had a bit of fear are putting in money. Everyone is financing now, even the banks,” Katumbi said.
“There are plenty, plenty projects,” Katumbi added. “End of next year we are going to reach 1Mt, and in five years’ time we are going to reach 1.5Mt,” he predicted.

Exports in 2011 will include 700 000t of metal and 300 000t of concentrate, according to Katumbi. The forecast far exceeds a projection from the Mines Ministry earlier this year showing copper exports would reach just over 516000t in 2011 “’ a figure Katumbi said was now out of date due to new estimates from firms.

Katumbi said Katanga Mining and Mutanda Mining “’ both part-owned by Swiss metals trader Glencore “’ along with China’s CDM, South Africa’s Metorex and Anvil Mining, part-owned by metals trader Trafigura, would together pump in US$2.2 billion (R15.4 billion) to expand their projects throughout the province.

Perceived contract insecurity prompted political risk premiums in the DRC to rise 40% after the state withdrew the rights to Canadian miner First Quantum’s US$750 million (R5.25 billion) KMT project in Kolwezi last year and handed them to Kazakh rival ENRC in August.