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DRC seeks changes in mining contracts

Anvil’s HMS plant at
Kulu, in the Kolwezi
area of the DRC
Kinshasa, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 25 March, 2008 – The Mines Review Commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – tasked with overhauling the industry after years of war and neglect in the central African country – has published its long-awaited report reviewing contracts between foreign mining organisations and its state-owned companies, reports Reuters.

The DRC government had commissioned the review of the 60-odd mining contracts entered into between foreign companies and State mining firms during the country’s civil war to determine the legality of the deals, and to renegotiate those seen as unfair to the government.

The recommendations of the commission – which was appointed by President Joseph Kabila – were contained in a 200-page document published on the website of the DRC Mines Ministry.

The Reuters report adds that the commission has recommended the renegotiation of contracts between state diamond firm MIBA and such mining leaders as top global diversified mining company BHP Billiton, diamond giant De Beers and gold major AngloGold Ashanti.

Changes have also been recommended to a mine contract with Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. and Lundin Mining Corporation, cutting their stake in the US$900 million (R7.2 billion) Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt project. The Commission wants state-owned Gecamines to increase its stake in the project to 45%, from 17.5%.

It also recommended the cancellation of some contracts awarded to smaller, unlisted companies operating in the violent east of the country.

Other companies likely to be re-negotiating contracts include such names as Anvil Mining, Central African Mining and Exploration plc, Cluff Gold, First Quantum Minerals and Katanga Mining.

“The government of the Republic intends from now on to ensure efficient management and adequate control of the mining sector so that Congolese mines truly and fully benefit the Congolese nation,” the report’s introduction said.