DRC suspends board of state-owned diamond firm Miba on governance concerns

THE board and management of Miba SA, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) state-controlled diamond company, has been suspended, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

Citing minutes of a meeting held by the DRC’s Council of Ministers, the newswire said the reason for the suspension was that an audit had “… identified major dysfunctions in compliance, governance and management, production and financial administration”.

The central African nation’s government will convene a general assembly to discuss ways to “re-float” the company, said Bloomberg News.

Miba mined only 19,683 carats of gems in 2019 after producing about 119,000 carats the year before, according to mines ministry statistics.

The world’s diamond sector is in distress owing to COVID-19 related travel bans which have prevented buyers of rough diamonds inspecting goods at international buying centres.

De Beers said last month that it was in discussions with the Botswana government to move diamond sales from its capital, Gaborone, nearer to buyers in international centres in order to get rough diamond trade flowing again.

Citing De Beers executive vice president of Diamond Trading, Paul Rowley, the newswire said the temporary shift in sales point would be done in such a way that the sales were still booked in Botswana. “If we can move our product closer to them it would give us the flexibility to restart sales as soon as the markets reopen,” said Rowley.

“The temporary measure will enable us and our government partners to generate some revenue in this difficult period,” said Rowley. Anglo American unit De Beers sells 90% of its total supply from Gaborone whose economy relies on diamonds, said Reuters.