The Democratic Republic of Congo, which has some of the world’s richest metal deposits, has delayed a ban on the export of copper and cobalt concentrate until next year, the country’s mines minister said.
The ban, which had been scheduled to start this month, is supposed to compel mining companies to process metals and minerals in Congo. Miners had complained that the country doesn’t generate adequate electricity to process all of its minerals and had asked for a delay.
“The moratorium is until Dec. 31, 2013,” Martin Kabwelulu, the mines minister, said in a mobile phone text message, without providing further details.
Congo was the world’s eighth-largest producer of copper and the biggest producer of cobalt last year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Power shortages have forced some miners to install generators or buy electricity from neighboring Zambia to run processing plants.
Glencore International Plc (GLEN), Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX), and Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) were the country’s largest miners in 2012, responsible for 58 percent of copper production and 56 percent of cobalt output, according to mines ministry statistics.
The mines ministry previously banned the export of concentrated minerals in April 2010. That same month, Katangan Governor Moise Katumbi allowed for mining companies to continue exporting concentrated minerals if they paid a $60 per metric ton tax.
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