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DRC cuts mining taxes

The Kalumines
copper-cobalt project
site in the DRC
Kinshasa, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 12 December 2008 – The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is to cut costs for miners and wrap up a review of mining contracts in an effort to help counter the effects of the global financial crisis and the slump in demand for commodities.

In an interview with Bloomberg News here, deputy mines minister Victor Kasongo said the government would cut export and import taxes for miners, and would drop the cost of factory operating licenses to US$5 million (R51.5 million) from US$50 million (R515 million). “Full details of the cuts will be available tomorrow,” he added.

“Congo depends on the mines, and the financial crisis has hit the mining industry hard,” Kasongo said. “We want people to export minerals so that people can keep working.”

It was reported earlier that up to 300 000 people would lose their jobs by year’s end in the southern Katanga province, home to a third of the world’s cobalt reserves and 4% of all copper. About 45 out of 75 companies with treatment plants in the DRC have stopped operating because metal prices have plummeted.

Bloomberg News reports that next week the DRC government is scheduled to announce the final results of a review of mining contracts with 61 foreign and local companies.