Congo’s Kabila to meet companies over mining code revision

KINSHASA (Reuters) – Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila will meet mining company representatives on Tuesday to discuss a mining code revision awaiting his signature that would raise taxes and royalties, the mines minister said.

Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Joseph Kabila addresses a news conference at the State House in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo January 26, 2018. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe

The bill was adopted by parliament late in January but the industry has been lobbying Kabila not to sign it, saying it would discourage investment and violate existing agreements.

International mining companies in Congo, Africa’s largest copper producer, include Randgold, Glencore and China Molybdenum.

The code could see royalties on cobalt, a vital component in electric car batteries, increase five-fold to 10 percent. It would also remove a stability clause in the current law protecting miners from changes to the fiscal and customs regime for 10 years.

Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu told Reuters the meeting would take place on Tuesday in a text message and did not elaborate.

Glencore declined to comment. Randgold and China Molybdenum did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Congo is the world’s biggest source of cobalt. Its output jumped 15.5 percent last year to 73,940 tonnes.

(The story was corrected to say the meeting was on Tuesday not Monday after minister changes date)

Reporting By Amedee Mwarabu; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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