Big miners arrive in the DRC to go over new mining code

Big miners operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo took President Joseph Kabila's word seriously.

Less than a week ago, Kabila signed into law a new mining code that raises royalties and taxes on operators. As he did so, the President assured them that their questions around the legal instrument would be resolved through transitional arrangements, mining regulations and agreements, and guarantees. Thus, miners were requested to meet with government officials for a 30 day period starting March 14.

Today, legal and technical staff for Randgold Resources, AngloGold Ashanti, Glencore, Ivanhoe, Gold Mountain International/Zijin, MMG and China Molybdenum arrived in Kinshasa in the hope of meeting with the Minister of Mines. As requested by the central administration, they asked for the meeting after they submitted a matrix of the industry’s issues as well as proposals regarding the mining code.

A press release issued by the firms states that they also want to discuss a programme of engagement with the government’s working group, as they "confirmed their willingness to negotiate additional royalties and changes to other taxes as part of this process."

The brief says that the companies hope the process will start soon and that it would give priority to the recognition of the stability clauses contained in Article 276 of the 2002 mining code. "Most notably, Article 276 provided for 10 years of stability after changes are made to the mining code, and formed the basis of many investment decisions in DRC. This period of stability resulted in over $10 billion in direct investments by the mining industry which created over 20,000 full-time jobs in the DRC," the document reads.

In the meantime, Randgold Resources’ and AngloGold Ashanti’s Kibali mine, Glencore’s Mutanda Mine, Kamoto Copper Company, the Kamoa-Kakula mine, MMG’s Kinsevere mine and CMOC’s Tenke Fungurume mine have resigned from FEC, which is the Congolese Chamber of Commerce. "These mines, which represent more than 85% of the DRC’s copper, cobalt and gold production, said the FEC does not adequately represent their interests," they say in the press release.