Congo will declare cobalt and other minerals as “strategic” in coming days – mines minister – by Amedee Mwarabu (Reuters U.S. – September 15, 2018)

KOLWEZI, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sept 15 (Reuters) – T he prime minister of Democratic Republic of Congo will sign a decree in the coming days to designate cobalt and other minerals as “strategic” and therefore subject to higher royalties, Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu said on Saturday.

The change is part of a new mining code, which mining companies including Glencore and Randgold oppose as it axes tax exemptions and hikes royalties and profit taxes.

They have been holding out the hope it might be watered down in further negotiations. The government has not yet formally announced which metals will be classed as strategic in the new code and subject to royalties of 10 percent.

Before the code was introduced, companies paid a rate of 2 percent for cobalt. Addressing a mining conference in the copper and cobalt-mining city of Kolwezi, Kabwelulu said: “in the coming days, you will see the prime minister sign a decree to declare cobalt and certain other substances as strategic.”

Miners of cobalt would have paid a royalty of 3.5 percent under the new code if its designation had stayed the same.

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