HomeBase MetalsDRC mining negotiations underway

DRC mining negotiations underway

Anvil’s HMS plant
at Kulu, in the
Kolwezi area of the DRC
Kinshasa, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 12 September 2008 – The re-negotiation of mining contracts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has kicked off with the state-owned miner starting exploratory talks with selected foreign miners in an effort to complete the process by the end of the month.

“Officials of the Office des Mines d’Or de Kilo-Moto (Okimo) met with representatives of Australian-based Moto Goldmines Limited to discuss its gold concessions in the northeastern DRC,” said Taty Kitume, personal assistant to Okimo CEO Will Bafoa.

“The negotiations started yesterday,” Kitume said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg News from the capital. “Moto Goldmines is first. Then will be AngloGold followed by Mwana.”

Bloomberg reports that the DRC – which has a third of the world’s cobalt and 4% of all copper – is seeking to boost revenue from mining by improving the terms of contracts with mining companies more in the government’s favour. The government is reviewing 61 deals, including those with Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. – the world’s largest publicly-traded copper producer, and AngloGold Ashanti – Africa’s biggest gold miner.

Last week, the DRC Mines Ministry published the terms of reference for the negotiations which would be used by state-owned miners in talks with their private joint-venture partners.

La Societe Miniere de Bakwanga – the country’s state-owned diamond miner, also known as Miba – will complete its negotiations by 20 September, deputy CEO Christine Tusse said by phone from Mbuji-Mayi in central DRC. “The Miba contracts don’t pose any major problems, so there’s not much to renegotiate,” she said. BHP Billiton Limited – the world’s largest mining company – and De Beers – the biggest diamond producer – both have exploration deals with Miba under review.

Gecamines – the state-owned mining company – has not started negotiations yet,” said CEO Paul Fortin in a mobile-phone message. “Talks should begin in approximately two weeks,” he added.