Lubumbashi, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 24 May 2010 – The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) should re-start negotiations with First Quantum Minerals Limited over a canceled mining deal that the company has challenged in an international court.
Stating this in an interview here with Bloomberg News, Katanga province mines minister Juvenal Kitungwa Lugoma said the impasse had stalled real investment in Katanga, where most of the DRC’s cobalt and copper deposits were located.
First Quantum’s US$553 million (R4.1 billion) Kinganyambo Musonoi Tailings Sarl project was shuttered last August after a 2-1/2-year government review of the Central African nation’s mining contracts. On 1 February the Vancouver-based company filed suit at the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration in Paris to dispute the decision.
“It’s an important investment in terms of employment and taxes, and it’s good for the state and the province in particular,” Kitungwa said. “There are problems with the contract, but they should re-start negotiations.”
“It’s a wish we share,” First Quantum director of administration Tilly Mumpi said in an interview here. “All the shareholders want to come to an amicable solution if possible. If not, we’ll pursue the case to the end.”