The Democratic Republic of Congo / DRC government has announced, after negotiations with the mining industry, that it has dropped initial plans to amend the country’s mining code.

The country’s Chamber of Mines has welcomed the announcement.

In a statement at the Mining Indaba, Chamber of Mines spokesman Simon Tuma-Waku said government had recognised that a more onerous code would drive investors away from what was already a stressed market, as had happened elsewhere in Africa.

“The assurance given at the Indaba by Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu that the current code will be retained has brought clarity and stability to the situation. With the uncertainty out of the way, the DRC can now return to being a competitive mining investment destination, to the benefit of the government as well as the industry,” he said.

He also noted that while 2015 had been a tough year for the DRC’s mining industry, it had held up reasonably well in the face of challenging conditions.

Copper production was down only 3.3% year on year despite the closure of marginal operations. Zinc also dipped but cobalt and diamond production was slightly higher.

The biggest positive move came from gold, with the 2015 total of 25 t up 30% year on year on the back of the Kibali ramp-up.

In March last year, Tuma-Waku said that the 2002 code attracts investment but not at the expense of taxes.  “It is, in fact, a model of its kind, which has exceeded expectations in all the dimensions in which success can be measured.”

“The DRC is a major beneficiary of this success, with some of the first big mining projects developed under the 2002 code now moving into full tax-paying positions, mining companies contributed more than $1 billion to the DRC treasury in 2014, despite lower commodity prices.

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