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First Quantum talking to DRC government

First Quantum Minerals
“’ in talks with DRC
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 07 August 2009 – First Quantum Minerals Limited “’ a growing mining and metals company engaged in mineral exploration, development and mining in Africa “’ says it is talking to the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), after reports that the company’s mining contract in the country had been cancelled.

First Quantum’s contract for the Kolwezi cobalt and copper project was terminated after the Vancouver-based company had failed to begin commercial operations within an agreed timeframe, Reuters reported yesterday.

“We haven’t missed any schedule or received any notification from the government about a cancellation,” company president Clive Newall said in a phone interview with Bloomberg News from here. “We are in the process of talking with the government,” he added. He declined to disclose details of the talks.

DRC state-owned mining companies are renegotiating contracts with 61 foreign and local investors as the government seeks to increase its share of revenue from the industry.

“Development of Kolwezi in DRC’s Katanga province is 65% complete, and has so far cost about US$300 million (R2.4 billion)” Newall said. It will start commercial production in the first quarter of 2010, according to the company’s Web site.

First Quantum owns 65 percent of Kolwezi, South Africa’s Industrial Development Corp. has 10% and the World Bank’s International Finance Corp. unit 7.5 percent. DRC government and state- owned miner Gecamines together own the remaining 17.5%.