Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/21/18)
Forty-four African countries have signed an agreement establishing a free trade area seen as vital to the continent's economic development, the head of the African Union said Wednesday. "The agreement establishing the CFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) was signed by 44 countries," said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU commission. The creation of a free trade area -- billed as the world's largest -- comes after two years of negotiations, and is one of the AU's flagship projects for greater African integration. However, the agreement will still have to be ratified at a national level, and is only due to come into force in 180 days. The full list of countries which did...
(AFP (eng) 03/12/18)
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila enacted a law to hike taxes on so-called strategic metals and ordered government consultations with foreign companies worried by the change, an official said Sunday. "The law has been promulgated in the same form as was adopted by parliament," a presidential adviser who asked not to be named told AFP. The new text replaces the Democratic Republic of Congo's 2002 mining code, which the government considered to favour foreign investors at the expense of the economy. The new code allows a levy of up to 10 percent on key minerals, expected to include copper and cobalt. There would also be a tax of 50 percent on windfall profits -- so-called super-profits that occur when prices...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/18)
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila has promised to have "constructive dialogue" with mining companies worried over plans to hike taxes on so-called strategic metals, a category expected to include the booming market for cobalt and copper. Kabila on Tuesday held more than seven hours of talks with leading players in the Democratic Republic of Congo's mining sector over plans to change the country's 2002 mining code. "The president reassures mining operators that they are economic partners in the DRC and...
(AFP (eng) 03/06/18)
Rail traffic between the Democratic Republic of Congo and its neighbour Angola has resumed after a 34-year break, providing a vital boost for DRC's mining exports, officials said. "The first train left DRC on Monday hauling 50 containers and arrived at Luau station in Moxico province" in eastern Angola, the Congolese presidency said on Tuesday. The train, which left from the border town of Dilolo in southeastern DRC, is heading for the Angolan port of Lobito, on the Atlantic coast,...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/18)
In early 2014, according to local folklore, a man digging a septic tank or a well in his garden in Kasulo came across rocks with a distinctive grey-green sheen: cobalt. From then on -- rather like the find at Sutter's Mill in 1848 that sparked the California Gold Rush -- life for local people was never quite the same again. Demand for cobalt -- vital for batteries powering products from iPhones to Tesla electric cars -- is soaring, with world...
(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...
(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...
(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...

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