Kinshasa, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 19 March, 2008 – The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will publish the long-awaited final report of its mines contract review commission tomorrow, reports Reuters, citing Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu.
“We announce to all the sector’s operators and to the interested public that the government of the republic has decided to publish the final report of the mining contract re-visitation commission,” Kabwelulu told a mining conference here. “It can be found from Thursday March 20 2008 on the website www.miningcongo.cd and Government resolutions will follow,” he added.
The government established the commission last year, following the central African country’s 2006 democratic elections – the first in more than four decades.
The commission’s task, initially scheduled to take six months, was to overhaul contracts signed during a chaotic 1998-2003 war, Reuters reports, and to ensure that the State got a fair share of revenues from exploitation of its mineral reserves – a key factor that had fuelled the conflict.
The country’s Mines Ministry announced in mid-February that it had completed its review of 60 deals, and had transmitted its findings to the companies concerned ahead of a "brief and open" appeal process.
DRC’s deputy mines minister Victor Kasongo told a mining conference in South Africa earlier this year that the review panel had been surprised by the number of flawed contracts. These were largely responsible for the delays in the review.
The country’s once mighty mining sector – a potential treasure trove of largely unexploited concessions – has seen its output decrease and its infrastructure crumble during years of conflict, corruption and neglect.
However, the Reuters report points out, interest is again booming since the 2006 polls, which confirmed Joseph Kabila as president and were intended to usher in a new era of stability and economic growth.
The mining sector in the DRC has seen major investment from international mining companies such as Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, BHP Billiton, and Katanga Mining Ltd.