International miners in DRC form new body

Mining companies active in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have formed a new body to engage with the government on industry concerns about the country’s new mining code and any other material issue concerning the mining industry.

The industry’s main issue remains the application of the 2018 mining code, according to Richard Robinson, general secretary of the new body, called the Mining Promotion Initiative.

He said that the new code compromises those investors who have invested in the country individually and alongside state companies on terms guaranteed by the government through legislation, specific guarantees and bilateral trade agreements.

These investors believed the application of the new code as it stands would discourage further investment in large and small sustainable projects which are crucial for the DRC economy as well as the mining sector.

“That is why we are committed to continue working with the government to seek a mutually agreeable solution and improve the legal framework for current and new investments,” Robinson said.

Members of the MPI account for 80% of copper and cobalt production and 90% of gold production in the DRC. They include Alphamin Bisie Mining, CMOC International/Tenke Fungurume Mining, Glencore/KCC/MUMI, Ivanhoe Mines/Kamoa-Kakula/Kipushi, MMG, and Randgold Resources/Kibali.

International miners active in the DRC have been in talks with various bodies including the government and civil society through the year to address their concerns about the new code. They formally submitted a proposal that would amend the code to the DRC’s Ministry of Mines on Thursday March 29. 

The mining sector in the mineral-rich DRC, a key producer of copper and cobalt, has flourished following a recovery in metals prices and the push toward electric vehicles (EVs).

Metal Bulletin’s assessments of the prices of low and high-grade cobalt, a key raw material used in the production of EV batteries, rose steadily higher from January to May but have been sliding lower since with cheap selling from China meeting weak summer demand elsewhere.

Metal Bulletin assessed high-grade cobalt prices at $32.70-33.70 per lb, in-warehouse on Wednesday August 22, below levels of $36-37.40 per lb seen at the start of the year. Low-grade cobalt prices of $33.20-33.70 per lb in-warehouse were also down from $35-37 per lb at the start of the year.

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