Friday 23 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/23/18)
Rebels have wanted to kill him, NGOs accuse him of exploitation and Chinese newcomers have rattled his Congo mining empire, but George Forrest, one of Africa's biggest businessmen, remains unbowed. The head of the Forrest Group, which is worth an estimated $800 million (650 million euros) and was ranked second in sub-Saharan Africa by Forbes in 2016, ascribes his durability to one crucial fact. "We've come through many events and a lot of crises because we don't get mixed up in politics," the 78-year-old entrepreneur told AFP at his office in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo's mining hub and its second-biggest city. It was in this city that Forrest was born in 1940 when the...
(AFP (eng) 02/22/18)
In global markets the price of cobalt, a mineral used in batteries for high-tech products from iPhones to Tesla electric cars, has nearly tripled to $81,500 a tonne in two years. But in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which produced two-thirds of the global supply of the coveted metal last year, artisanal diggers called "creuseurs" sell their best-quality ore for about $7,000 a tonne, blissfully unaware of how much the global price has rocketed. In Kolwezi, a mining town in southeastern DRC, Chinese entrepreneurs dominate the middle section of the market, purchasing the raw cobalt from miners and selling it on for refining. Transactions in the buying houses depend on the purity of the ore. There are approximately 30 major...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
About 224 million people are suffering from malnutrition across Africa as climate change and conflicts heighten food insecurity across the continent, a top UN food agency official said Monday. The official, speaking at a conference on Africa organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the situation was a "cause of concern" as the continent's population was expected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. "Under-nourishment appears to have increased from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/16/18)
DAKAR (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo’s oil minister on Thursday defended the country’s right to explore for oil anywhere on its territory after media reports that President Joseph Kabila approved drilling in Africa’s largest tropical rainforest reserve. Oil minister Aime Ngoy Mukena declined to confirm a report in Germany’s Die Tageszeitung newspaper that Kabila had this month authorized exploration inside Salonga National Park, but he said that no land should be off-limits. Salonga, a UNESCO World Heritage site, covers...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/14/18)
DAKAR (Reuters) - The British government said it has frozen 580,000 pounds ($802,894) in assets held by several dozen militia leaders, army officers and private organizations with ties to Democratic Republic of Congo. The freezes were mandated by the European Union as part of a sanctions regime imposed by the United Nations. Economic Secretary John Glen had written on the UK parliament website in response to an MP’s question that the total sum seized was 580 million pounds before his...
(AFP (eng) 02/09/18)
The world's biggest producer of cobalt, a key ingredient in modern batteries, plans a five-fold increase in tax on the commodity as part of an overhaul of its mining laws, industrial sources said Friday. The Democratic Republic of Congo would impose a tax of 10 percent on so-called "strategic metals" under the plan, a copy of which was obtained by AFP. The government last year signalled its intention to reform its 2002 mining code, which it considered to favour foreign...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday told Brussels Airlines to reduce by nearly half the number of its weekly flights to Kinshasa, in a ramping up of tensions with its former colonial power Belgium. The move comes after Belgian and EU officials condemned a violent DRC government crackdown on protests against President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled since 2001. The number of Brussels Airlines flights to the capital will be "reduced from seven to four a week from Monday, February...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/25/18)
KINSHASA (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo’s new proposed mining code, which the industry has warned will stifle investment in the copper and cobalt-rich nation, sailed through the Senate without opposition late on Wednesday. A version passed by the National Assembly - Congo’s lower house of parliament - last month would increase taxes and royalties, including potentially more than doubling royalties on cobalt, a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s cobalt comes from Congo. Demand for...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
As demand for batteries drives a surge in the price of cobalt, the Democratic Republic of Congo is gearing up to overhaul its mining regulations to harvest more profit from the coveted metal. The global boom for smartphones and electric cars has pushed up the price of cobalt, a key ingredient in top-range batteries, to $75,000 (almost 63,000 euros) a tonne -- an increase of 127 percent in one year. DR Congo is the world's leading producer of cobalt, where authorities consider the previous mining code to favour foreign investors at the expense of the economy. The central African country is also the top African producer of copper, currently trading on the London Metal Exchange...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/15/18)
LONDON (Reuters) - The cobalt market will record a supply surplus both this year and next, according to heavyweight commodities research house CRU. This might seem a little surprising, given all the bullish hype surrounding a metal that more than doubled in price last year. CRU itself has drastically revised its original assessment of a sustained supply shortfall due to strong demand growth from the battery sector. What has changed its mind? In short, it’s the return of the Katanga...
(Agence Ecofin 12/15/17)
Katanga Mining has announced this week the coming online of the first train of its new whole ore leach (WOL) processing facility at its KCC’s copper and cobalt mine, in DRC. The first copper cathode was produced on December 11, 2017. In September 2015, the KCC’s copper and cobalt production was halted pending the construction of the WOL project. The firm now affirms that commissioning will continue throughout the next three months, with as goal for the first train to...
(Agence Ecofin 12/12/17)
The parliament of DRC has adopted a new mining code which should boost taxes and royalties paid by mining firms operating in the country. The news which was disclosed this week-end, was relayed by many international media such as Reuters and BBC Africa. The revision project was proposed in 2015 but its adoption process was halted in March 2016 due to various objections from mining firms which complained about the fact that it would impact the profitability of investments made...
(AFP (eng) 12/04/17)
Swiss food giant Nestle announced Sunday that it would close its factory in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a potential market of 80 million people but one beset by poverty and political instability. "We will close our factory and offices by the end of January and continue developing our economic distribution model through third parties," a spokeswoman for the group told AFP. The decision affects 120 people and Nestle will offer laid-off employees "a series of compensatory...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/29/17)
The electric vehicle (EV) story continues to gather momentum, with even major oil companies scrambling to join the coming green energy revolution. Royal Dutch Shell has just announced a partnership with leading automotive companies to install super-fast chargers on European highways. But as ever more companies sign up to the bright, shiny EV future, there is rising concern about the heart of darkness in this new technology -- you can’t power an EV without a lithium-ion battery and, for now...
(Agence Ecofin 11/27/17)
According to a circular that came into effect on November 20, 2017, Congo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lumeya-Dhu-Maleghi (photo), has put in place new measures to accelerate procedures to secure land deeds and other related documents, in addition to reduce related costs. “Starting from November 20, 2017, and as it was agreed after assessing the various steps associated with procedures during the file processing, 15 working days, instead of 2 to 3 months, this is the maximum delay set to...
(AFP (eng) 11/21/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo's state-owned mining company Gecamines on Monday accused its foreign partners of "stealing" after its book-keeping was challenged by US and British reports. "For the past 15 years our partners have... cheated us and stolen from us. That must stop," said Albert Yuma, chairman of the board and a close associate of President Joseph Kabila. In July, the British NGO Global Witness described the Congolese mining sector as a "cash machine" for Joseph Kabila's regime, which has been in power since 2001. And in early November American NGO the Carter Center estimated that a total of $750 million (644 million euros), generated by the mining production between 2011 and 2014...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/14/17)
KIGALI (Reuters) - The global airline industry has $1.2 billion blocked in nine dollar-strapped African countries, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Monday. The global commodities price crash that began in 2014 hit economies across Africa hard, particularly big resource exporters such as Angola and Nigeria. Low oil and mineral prices have reduced government revenue and caused chronic dollar shortages and immense pressure on local currencies. The fiscal slump has meant governments have not allowed foreign airlines to...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/08/17)
GUANGZHOU, China (Reuters) - China is depending too much on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for cobalt, a crucial component in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and should take steps to ensure security of supply, delegates said at an industry conference on Tuesday. China, the world’s top cobalt consumer, is “over-reliant” on the African country, which accounts for around half of global cobalt supplies, said Wu Lijue, chairman of Guangdong Jiana Energy Technology Co, a supplier of cobalt salts and...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
Some $750 million (644 million euros) in revenue from Democratic Republic of Congo's mines between 2011 and 2014 "cannot be reliably tracked" in the records of the state-owned Gecamines, the Carter Center said Friday. The US foundation, in a report, suggested Gecamines used "its privileged position to generate US$1.1 billion from copper and cobalt deals between 2011 and 2014" yet had failed to reliably account for almost two-thirds of the revenue. Gecamines wields control of the vast nation's "best mining permits", enabling it "to generate substantial revenues from its partnerships, averaging US$262 million per year in royalties...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a...

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