Kinshasa, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 06 August 2009 – The government op the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has cleared four major mining deals after completing its long-delayed mining contract review, but the massive Tenke project has yet to be fully approved.
A statement on the DRC government website here revealed that it had approved contracts with AngloGold Ashanti, Banro, Mwana Africa, and Gold Fields, provided it completed a feasibility study at its Kisenge project.
Separately, deputy mines minister Victor Kasongo said the government had given two months to Tenke Fungurume Mining “’ the giant copper and cobalt project backed by Freeport McMoran and Lundin Mining “’ to complete the review of its mining contract in the country.
“Tenke has yet to agree to the rewriting of the contract in accordance with new legislation, extra royalties on additional production, and the integration of the state company into management structures,” Kasongo explained.
The DRC government has cancelled a copper and cobalt mining contract with a unit of First Quantum, following the review of major contracts launched two years ago, Kasongo said.
“KMT’s contract was cancelled in accordance with its own provisions,” Kasongo told Reuters, referring to First Quantum’s Kingamyambo Musonoi Tailings (KMT) unit. He said the unit had failed to begin commercial exploitation within the agreed timeframe.
Mining is the mainstay of the DRC economy, which benefited from the commodities boom earlier in the decade, but has been hit hard recently by falls in metals prices and companies scaling back production.
The contract review was launched in early 2007 in an effort to boost the government’s stake in 61 agreements, most of which were signed during the chaos of a 1998-2003 war, and by a corruption-plagued post-war transitional government.