Lubumbashi, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 08 February 2010 – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s mineral-rich Katanga province has lifted a ban on exports from 16 mining companies, following their agreement to comply with a request to grow 500 hectares of corn.
“All of the miners “’ which include Kamoto Copper Company, a joint venture between Bermuda-based Katanga Mining Limited and the DRC’s state-owned Gecamines “’ have agreed to plant corn in the future,” Francois Kashinda, a spokesman for Katanga governor Moise Katumbi, said in an e-mail from here. “They were also told to buy grain this year,” he added.
Bloomberg News reports that last week Katumbi blocked the 16 companies from exporting minerals for failing to comply with his request that they plant corn and manioc to feed their workers. Most of the companies affected were cobalt and copper producers.
The list of companies included: Compagnie Miniere du Sud- Katanga, Congo Loyal Will Mining, Cota Mining, Feza Mining, Golden African, JMT/MJM, Katanga Copper Company, Katanga Metals, Magma Minerals, Mehul Mining, MIEL International, Mining Yue, New Dathu Minerals, Rubamin SPRL, SARDC and Volcano Mining.
The crop initiative is aimed at reducing Katanga’s food imports, Kashinda said. George Forrest International SA “’ which owns 60% of Compagnie Miniere du Sud-Katanga, or CMSK, in a joint venture with Gecamines “’ said the global financial crisis was partly to blame for the delay in implementing the governor’s request.
Calls by Bloomberg News to Katanga Mining chief financial officer Nicholas Brodie seeking comment were not returned.
DRC produces around half the world’s cobalt, a metal used in rechargeable batteries, and holds 4 % of global copper reserves. The Central African nation is also the continent’s biggest tin producer.