DR Congo reaffirms export ban on copper and cobalt

The Minister of Mines of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reaffirmed implementation of an export ban on copper and cobalt ores — both include concentrates — from July to August of this year.

At the end of last month, the ministry announced a total ban on the export of unrefined copper and cobalt to be enforced in 90 days for the purpose of expanding the export of domestically processed products.

Customers, who import ores from DRC, as well as mining companies with local operations, have questioned the possibility of implementation of this controversial ban.

They argue that a shortage of domestic electricity supply could negatively affect governmental plans to switch the export streams from ores and concentrates to refined products.

Nevertheless, during the recent J-SUMIT held in Tokyo, the DRC confirmed its intention to implement the export ban.

Among other importers of metals produced in DRC, the biggest adverse impact this ban could have is on China. The country imported 166,000 tons of cobalt concentrates from DRC in 2012 that made up 94.2% of the its total import of cobalt (177,000 tons).

Image: David Holt London, Creative Commons, Flickr

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