Johannesburg — In one of Africa’s poorest countries, more than $750-million (U.S.) in mining revenue disappeared before it could reach the national treasury, an investigation has found.
The money from mining companies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was diverted over a three-year period, with much of it siphoned off by politically connected insiders at opaque tax agencies, according to a report by Global Witness, an independent research group.
The findings are significant for Canadian mining companies, which have been major investors in Congo and have given millions of dollars in payments to official agencies and state enterprises in the country.
Under new federal laws, Canadian mining and energy companies must disclose all payments to all levels of governments at home and abroad. Those disclosures, most of them released this year for the first time, show that Canadian companies have paid many millions of dollars to Congolese agencies.
Toronto-based Banro Corp., for example, disclosed on May 30 that it had paid $10.8-million in taxes, fees and royalties in Congo last year, while Vancouver-based Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. disclosed that it had paid about $6.3-million in taxes and fees in the country last year. Banro operates gold mines in Congo and Ivanhoe is developing copper and zinc mines.
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