JOSEPH Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), left some of the mining industry’s most powerful mining executives kicking their heels today following postponement of a meeting to discuss potential changes to the country’s mining code.
According to a report by Reuters, citing the DRC’s mines minister, Martin Kabwelulu, no reason was given regarding the meeting’s postponement. It would proceed before noon on Wednesday, the newswire added.
Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore, and Randgold Resources CEO, Mark Bristow, were among those called to attend in which the matter of an increase in royalties was on the agenda. The code change, to be enacted through a bill, could see royalties on cobalt which is a vital component in electric car batteries, increase fivefold to 10%, said Reuters.
It would also remove a stability clause in the current law protecting miners from changes to the fiscal and customs regime for 10 years. The bill was adopted by parliament late in January but the industry has been lobbying Kabila not to sign it, saying it would discourage investment and violate existing agreements.
Randgold’s Bristow said in February that consultations had already happened with the DRC’s government, but that the matter was turning on Kabila’s direct involvement. “We have represented our positions to him as an industry both directly and through his advisors, and we will continue to do that. We have offered a roundtable meeting for him personally with key investors if he would like that,” said Bristow.
“At the end of the day, there is much more fundamental stuff and President Kabila has still to get involved in this debate. That’s what we are waiting for. Is he prepared to engage in this debate for the benefit of his country, or is he going to rely on his advisors to make those decisions?,” he said.