Ivanhoe Mines confirms link to Congo aide in copper corruption case

IVANHOE Mines had a business relationship with a presidential aide who was arrested in a corruption case in Democratic Republic of Congo, where the firm controls one of the world’s biggest copper deposits, said Bloomberg News citing a company statement.

Ivanhoe struck a deal last year with Vidiye Tshimanga, a top aide to Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi, it told the newswire on December 14.

Tshimanga was arrested in September after a series of secretly-taped videos appeared to show him offering political protection for an unnamed mining deal in exchange for a stake in the venture.

“In early 2021, Ivanhoe Mines entered a term sheet with a Congolese entity beneficially owned by Mr. Vidiye Tshimanga for a joint venture on certain exploration licenses,” Ivanhoe told Bloomberg in an e-mail. The deal is currently in arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris after Tshimanga’s company “reneged on the commercial terms of this agreement,” Ivanhoe said.

Bloomberg quoted Tshimanga as saying in the videos that “With Ivanhoe, Ivanhoe have 80, I have 20”. The videos were obtained and published on September 15 by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. It wasn’t clear what he was referring to, said Bloomberg News.

Tshimanga’s company, Congo Bantu Mining Sarl, or Cobamin, has three exploration permits that adjoin several concessions owned by Vancouver-based Ivanhoe in southeastern Congo, according to Congo’s mining registry map, said the newswire.

Earlier this week, Ivanhoe dismissed allegations by a US investigative organisation ‘The Sentry’ which said the Canadian firm commited corporate malfeasance in its Congo operations.

The report, quoted by the Globe & Mail, detailed a police investigation at Ivanhoe’s Vancouver office which sought information on $2.7m in bank transfers from Ivanhoe to a Swiss bank account in connection with contracts for its Congolese mining operations.

“Both the Sentry report and the Globe and Mail article are rife with misleading content that selectively discloses supposed facts,” said Ivanhoe Mining in its statement.