THE Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has issued a six-month waiver to an export ban on copper concentrate, said Reuters, citing a letter it had seen from the country’s mining minister.
DRC, the world’s leading producer of cobalt and Africa’s biggest copper producer, banned exports of copper and cobalt concentrates in 2013 to encourage miners to process and refine the ore in the country, the newswire said.
But insufficient smelting capacity has driven it to repeatedly issue waivers. In August, the government granted an indefinite moratorium for all minerals exports except copper concentrate, pending discussions with miners.
“This moratorium, which will end on April 12, 2021, can only be extended on the justification of a project for further processing on site,” Mines Minister Willy Kitobo Samsoni said in a letter to other members of the government dated October 12.
The DRC’s economy is under significant strain from the Covid-19 pandemic, with foreign currency reserves shrinking and mining companies taking longer to repatriate the 60% of mineral sales, said Reuters in a July 7 report.
Economic distress also forms the background of efforts by gold mining firms Barrick Gold and AngloGold Ashanti to extract some $500m in joint venture monies from the DRC where they operate the Kibali mine.