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Mining contracts could be scrapped

Martin Kabwelulu,
DRC mines minister
Kinshasa, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 09 October 2009 – Some 25 mining contracts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) involving second tier copper, diamond, and gold assets could be scrapped if companies fail to present the results of their feasibility studies by the December deadline.

Revealing this here, deputy mines minister Victor Kasongo said: “We will see if the studies were done. They will be able to present their reasons, and the cabinet will decide whether to extend the deadlines or withdraw the permits. The goal is to have these assets in capable hands,” he told Reuters in an interview.

The DRC completed a review of 61 mining contracts in August as part of an effort to boost state revenues from agreements signed mostly during the chaos and corruption of a 1998-2003 war, and the transitional government that followed.

“However, many companies that saw their partnerships approved by the review panel have yet to present the required feasibility study results,” mines minister Martin Kabwelulu told an investor conference here. “Certain partners started work without finalising their feasibility studies,” he said.

“Eleven companies were either in production of or had provided feasibility studies. The rest gave nothing. So far we’ve still received nothing from them, and we’ve asked,” Kasongo added.

He said around 25 projects in possession of what he described as "second tier assets" in the copper, diamond, and gold sectors were subject to the December deadline. He did not name the projects.