Glencore pays $180 million to Congo to settle corruption claims

(Image: Musonoie-T17 open pit mine. Courtesy of Katanga Mining)

Miner and commodities giant Glencore (LON: GLEN) said on Monday it will pay the Democratic Republic of Congo $180 million to settle all alleged corruption claims in the country between 2007 and 2018.

The Swiss firm said the latest deal covers all activities that have been the subject of probes by the DRC’s National Financial Intelligence Unit and Ministry of Justice, and the United States Department of Justice over the 11-year period.

This includes the company’s payment of $27.5 million in bribes to the DRC between 2010 and 2013.

“Glencore is a long-standing investor in the DRC and is pleased to have reached this agreement to address the consequences of its past conduct,” chairman Kalidas Madhavpeddi said in the statement.

During the period covered by the settlement, Glencore worked with Israeli mining billionaire Dan Gertler. In 2018, the company settled a long-dragged legal row with Gertler, which included buying the tycoon’s stakes in the Mutanda mining joint venture and in Katanga Mining, which holds a stake in the Kamoto Copper Company (KCC).

The sum adds to the $1.5 billion (£1.2bn) in fines the company has already agreed to pay this year in relation to accusations of bribery across Africa and South America, and the manipulation of fuel oil prices in the US.

Separate investigations into Glencore’s conduct are ongoing in Switzerland and in the Netherlands.

“Never again”

Glencore said it has invested substantial resources towards developing a best-in-class ethics and compliance program. 

The miner noted it also has a refreshed board and management team, including in its DRC operations.

Glencore’s assets in the DRC include a 75% stake in the KCC copper-cobalt mine.

The firm also owns the Mutanda mine, which was responsible for a fifth of the world’s cobalt and nearly 200,000 tonnes of copper in 2018, its last year of full production.

The company restarted processing stockpiles of oxide ore at Mutanda late last year, while it explores the future mining of the asset’s sulphide resources.

Despite the fines, Glencore is expected to post record profits of around $3.2 billion this year.