MMG to start arbitration against Congo’s Gecamines

Kinsevere copper mine. Image courtesy of MMG

MMG Limited said it plans to launch international arbitration against Congolese state mining company Gecamines after Democratic Republic of Congo armed forces occupied two concessions near its Kinsevere copper mine.

Hong Kong-listed MMG said armed forces entered its Nambulwa mining lease on Sept. 16 claiming Gecamines had signed a research contract for it. MMG staff were able to return to site and continue work from Sept. 28 but the armed forces remained there, MMG said.

The company also said that security forces removed MMG staff from its Sokoroshe II mining lease on July 1, again citing two research contracts for the area with third parties signed by Gecamines.

MMG “intends to commence international arbitration in the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris and Geneva”, the miner, majority owned by China MinMetals, said in a statement on Thursday.

Congo government spokesman Patrick Muyaya told Reuters he had no information about the dispute between MMG and Gecamines.

It was not immediately possible to reach Congo’s army for comment. President Felix Tshisekedi is restructuring the military and there is currently no national spokesperson.

Gecamines officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

MMG said it “continues to be denied access to” Sokoroshe II, which it plans to mine along with Nambulwa as part of an expansion of its Kinsevere operation.

It said it continues to make formal requests to both Gecamines and the ministry of mines for Gecamines to withdraw the agreements with third parties and remove the armed forces and third parties from the sites.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the presence of the military at the sites.

(By Helen Reid and Stanis Bujakera, Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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