The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has some of the world’s richest metal deposits, has delayed a ban on the export of copper and cobalt concentrate until 2014. The ban, which had been scheduled to commence this month, is supposed to compel mining companies to process metals and minerals in the DRC. Miners had complained that the country doesn’t generate adequate electricity to process all of its minerals and had asked for a delay.
Mines minister, Martin Kabwelulu, said the moratorium is until Dec. 31, 2013. The DRC was the world’s eighth-largest producer of copper and the biggest producer of cobalt last year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Power shortages have forced some miners to install generators or buy electricity from neighbouring Zambia to run processing plants.
According to mines ministry statistics, Glencore International plc, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Incorporated, and Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) were the country’s largest miners in 2012, responsible for 58percent of copper production and 56percent of cobalt output.
The mines ministry previously banned the export of concentrated minerals in April 2010. That same month, Katangan governor Moise Katumbi allowed mining companies to continue exporting concentrated minerals if they paid a tax of US$60/t