Congo Postpones Ban on Mineral Exports Because of Power Shortage

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Mines Ministry postponed a ban on exports of concentrated copper and cobalt until 2015 because the country doesn’t have enough electricity to process the minerals, Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu said.

The ban was supposed to go into effect January 1 to force mining companies to add value to their mineral exports. Companies will still need to pay a $100 tax per metric ton on concentrated exports, Kabwelulu said by phone from Brussels, Belgium.

“There is a very big problem with energy and we didn’t want to penalize economic operators,” Kabwelulu said. “We’ll spend the year trying to address the problem and wanted to reassure operators.”

Congo was the world’s largest producer of cobalt in 2012, and the eighth biggest producer of copper. Glencore Xstrata Plc (GLEN) and Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) are the largest producers in the country. Congo’s 2013 copper output is expected to rise by 20 percent to more than 750,000 tons.

Miners in the province of Katanga have an electricity deficit of more than 300 megawatts, according to the country’s Energy Ministry.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael J. Kavanagh in Kinshasa at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at

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