Trafigura to restart DRC copper operation after meeting with prime minister, govt says

Global commodity trader Trafigura will restart its copper mining operation at Pweto in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the government announced on Thursday October 8.

The announcement came after a meeting of Trafigura’s head of mining, Emmanuel Henry, with the Central African country’s leader, Ilunga Ilunkamba, earlier in the day.

According to the statement issued by the prime minister’s office, which did not mention the names of the projects to be restarted, Trafigura will restart a DRC operation with an annual production capacity of 24,000 tonnes of copper.

The statement said that Trafigura had been mining copper in Pweto, in Haut-Katanga province, since 2015 and that it had to suspend the operations due to “operational difficulties following the unstable price of copper.”

No date was given for the restart.

Canadian miner Mawson West’s DRC operations at Dikulushi and Kapulo were put on care and maintenance in January 2015 after discussions with Trafigura’s asset management arm Galena. Galena had extended its rights to offtake 100% of the copper concentrates produced at the mines in late 2014 as part of a rescue deal.

Dikulushi and Kapulo are also in Haut-Katanga province.

The restart at Pweto comes after miners in the Africa’s major copper-producing country were told by the DRC government that they would not be able to renew their export ban waivers to ship out copper concentrate unless they could demonstrate their commitment to process ores locally.

Trafigura did not respond to request for comment at the time of publication.

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