News / Africa

    DR Congo Wants Better Deal From Miners

    Reuters
    Congo must tighten controls on granting mining licences and fight corruption so that the country can benefit fully from rising copper production, President Joseph Kabila said on Wednesday.

    The Democratic Republic of Congo has some of the world's largest copper deposits, and is also rich in tin, diamonds, gold and other commodities, but its mining sector has been held back by decades of underinvestment, conflict and corruption.

    Just two months ago the International Monetary Fund halted $240 million in planned loans to Congo for failing to disclose details of a mining deal.

    "We need to put an end to the paradox which sees huge mining potential, and ever more intense mining activity, but only modest benefits for the state," Kabila told government officials in the southern city of Lubumbashi, Congo's mining hub.

    In a rare display of support for a clean-up of the minining industry in what the United Nations deems the least-developed country in the world, he said, "This has negative consequences for the improvement of the population's living conditions."

    Kabila came to power after the assassination of his father at the height of a 5-year war over territory and mineral resources, which dragged in at least six neighbouring countries and left millions dead before a peace deal in 2003.

    Speaking at the start of a high-profile gathering intended as a gesture to the sector and the international community, Kabila said the state initiative would concentrate on better geological assessment, improved power supply, a major concern for miners, and unspecified efforts to combat corruption.

    Companies including Freeport-McMoRan, Glencore and ENRC are increasing production, and Kabila said copper output hit almost 600,000 tonnes in 2012, a leap from under 20,000 a decade ago, at the height of the war, and from 190,000 tonnes of output in 2007.

    He said the state would grant licences only to investors with "technical and financial expertise", apparently excluding the middlemen who have been at the heart of Congo's mining industry since the end of the civil war.

    The role of shell companies and non-mining investors acting as intermediaries in Congo's mining sector has long contributed to accusations of corruption and a reputation for poor transparency, implicating major producers operating there.

    Kabila, whose own ties with intermediaries are under scrutiny, gave no details, but his comments were seized upon by others in government.

    "We have to put an end to all of that, they are justadventurers. What we've got to do is invite the big mining and oil companies, then everyone will know who they are," employment minister Modeste Bahati Lukwebo told Reuters.

    However, both Glencore and ENRC have been critised by transparency activists over deals in Congo but deny any wrongdoing.

    Miners regularly complain of demands for illegal payments from officials and say the government must improve its own ability to retain revenue and keep up with a dynamic private sector.

    In 2010, according to the latest report by transparency initiative EITI, the government said it received almost $876 million in payments from the mining sector.

    But the country's mining code is under review and Congo could demand a larger share. In an early draft, the country demanded a 35 percent stake in any new mining project, up from 5 percent - a move widely criticised by the industry.

    "Certainly some investors are worried about how [the mining code revision] will be done, but from the state's point of view, they desperately need the money to pay for social services ... the mining sector is the most obvious source for that," said Neil Wigan, British Ambassador to Congo.

    "This meeting is meant to be a demonstration of political will ... but now the question is how that will be implemented," he said.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: David from: Washington DC
    January 31, 2013 11:56 AM
    A small step toward transparent in DRC’s mine sector, the government may keep 30% stake to attract more investments by imposing or requiring the mine’s companies to open national corridor for import and export of mineral and others commodities, such as rail road connects from Kivu & Katanga to the terminal port Banana, Matadi and Boma in ocean atlantic which open up DRC to the world. If they don’t like use national corridor for export&import of mineral, the government has to keep 35% stake.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora