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DRC takes hard line against mining companies

The Ruashi copper
and cobalt project
in the DRC
Kinshasa, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 28 August 2008 – The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – which is involved in a review of mining contracts with foreign and local companies – has announced that it will seek a majority stake in projects that have not yet submitted feasibility studies to the Mines Ministry.
Revealing this here in an interview with Bloomberg News, the ministry’s deputy chief of staff Gaby Matshafu said at least 16 of the 61 contracts being re-appraised by the government had provided project proposals. “The government is scheduled to make an announcement this week on the terms of reference on which agreements with mining companies are to be renegotiated,” he said.

“We said we want 51% of all companies without a feasibility study,” Matshafu added. “Where there is already a functioning operation, however, we are not going to push in and disturb things.”

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 towards the government’s benefit. Deals being scrutinised include those with Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. – the largest publicly traded copper producer – and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. – Africa’s biggest gold miner.

“Companies that have submitted feasibility studies to the Mines Ministry include Phoenix-based Freeport, Katanga Mining Ltd. of Canada, and Australia’s Anvil Mining Ltd. and Moto Goldmines Ltd.,” Matshafu revealed. “Those agreements will remain largely unchanged,” he concluded.