Congo state miner handed royalties to Israeli billionaire-NGO – by Aaron Ross (Reuters U.S. – November 15, 2016)

KINSHASA – Nov 15 Congo state miner Gecamines signed over its royalty rights at one of the country’s largest copper mines in January last year to an offshore company owned by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, according to a copy of the contract obtained by Global Witness and reviewed by Reuters.

The London-based advocacy group said in a statement on Tuesday that the lost royalties from the Kamoto Copper Co (KCC) project could cost heavily indebted Gecamines up to $880 million by 2030, about a fifth of Congo’s annual budget.

“It’s troubling that the state miner Gecamines has signed away rights to potentially huge flows of cash that should go towards building Congo’s future,” Global Witness said.

Gertler’s Fleurette Group, which holds a minority stake in KCC alongside its majority shareholder, Glencore, and Gecamines, confirmed in a statement that Africa Horizons Investment Ltd (AHIL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Fleurette, bought the rights from Gecamines but did not say for how much.

However, its statement called Global Witness’s report “damaging and defamatory”, saying Fleurette stands to lose money from the transaction owing to a fall in copper prices and KCC’s suspension of production in September 2015, both unforeseen events that occurred after the deal was signed in January.

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