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Katanga lifts cobalt ban

Katanga Mining’s Kamoto
concentrator in the DRC
Lubumbashi, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 11 June 2008 – Congo’s mineral-rich Katanga province has cleared nine companies to resume cobalt concentrate exports, but has extended a three-week-old ban on others pending upgrades to their treatment plants.
Reuters reports from here that a team of experts brought in to inspect processing plants completed its report at the end of last week, and has given a green light to those companies that met criteria set by the provincial government.

In a telephone interview with the news agency from the provincial capital, provincial mines minister Bartelemy Mumba Gama said: “We took into account the supply source, treatment technology, and the longevity of projects. There are companies that must improve their systems. Then perhaps they will be able to export again,” told Reuters.

Katanga Governor Moise Katumbi halted exports of cobalt concentrate on 15May, saying mining companies were flouting a year-old ban on exporting raw ore.

Hundreds of small mineral buyers have appeared in Katanga’s copper and cobalt belt, as the end of a 1998-2003 war and 2006 elections returned a measure of stability to the DRC. Most purchase ore from the tens of thousands of informal diggers that invaded concessions during the war years.

The DRC closed facilities belonging to Congo Dongfang International Mining – a subsidiary of China’s Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co. – last month, accusing it of breaking the ban on exporting raw ore.

Kamoto Operations Limited and DRC Copper and Cobalt Project – both operations belonging to Katanga Mining Ltd – were among those companies approved to restart exports, the Reuters report revealed. It added that Boss Mining, Chemaf, Metorex Limited’s Congolese subsidiary Ruashi Mining, as well as Anvil Mining Limited’s AMCK and SMK projects had also been cleared by the experts.