A worker handles
copper sheets during
electrolytic refining
at the metallurgical
Kinshasa, DRC — 26 July 2013 – The Katanga province authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have raised tax on copper and cobalt concentrates to US$100/t from US$60/t as the country prepares to ban their export at the end of this year.

“We need a way to discourage companies from continuing to export concentrates, so we raised the tax,” Valery Mukasa, chief of staff for mines minister Martin Kabwelulu, told Bloomberg News in an interview here. The central African government is trying force mining companies to increase the value of their exports by fully processing minerals within the country’s borders, Mukasa said.

The DRC was the world’s eighth-largest producer of copper and the biggest producer of cobalt last year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. At least 13 companies exported concentrates of copper, cobalt, or a copper-cobalt concentrate last year, according to Katangan provincial Mines Ministry statistics.

Glencore Xstrata plc,  Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Incorporated and Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) were the country’s biggest miners in 2012, responsible for 58%  of copper production and 56% of cobalt output, according to Mines Ministry statistics.

Katangan Governor Moise Katumbi first implemented the UDS$60/t tax in 2010 after a previous attempt by the Mines Ministry to ban the export of concentrated minerals. Katanga will continue to collect the tax directly, Mukasa said. He was uncertain whether revenue would be shared with the national government.

The DRC is in the process of revising its mining code, which currently allows for the export of concentrated minerals.

Miners and the DRC’s main business association, la Federation des Enterprises du Congo, have opposed the ban, saying the country does not generate enough electricity to process all its mineral production within its borders. Power shortages have forced some miners to install generators or buy electricity from neighbouring Zambia to run their processing plants.

Source: Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.