WINDHOEK, Namibia Moise
Katumbi, the powerful governor of the Democratic Republic of
the Congos (DRCs) Katanga province, home to the
countrys copper heartlands, says the province will defy a
central government directive to ban exports of copper and
Opposing Kinshasa, the
countrys capital, Katumbi rejected a directive signed by
mines minister Martin Kabwelulu and finance minister Patrice
Kitebi Kibol Mvul that bans exports of unrefined copper and
cobalt after 90 days, arguing that he was not consulted (
amm.com, April 18).
It subsequently emerged that
some cobalt hydroxide was also being stopped at border
"As the government of Katanga,
we reject this decision, and we will continue exporting. Congo
doesnt have enough electricity to process the finished
product," Katumbi said. "When you have partners, you consult
with them. If you dont have enough electricity, you
cant process the concentrates, and as the state we need
to furnish electricity to miners. They will continue to export
concentrates until there is enough electricity."
Kabwelulu and Katumbi had been
set to meet over the weekend in an attempt to settle their
differences, according to DRC media reports. It is unclear if
that meeting took place.
Katumbi also warned that the
government will lose income if the ban is enforced.
"This is a clear power play by
Katumbi, intended to demonstrate his strength to (DRC president
Joseph) Kabila and buttress his local support base in Katanga,
where efforts to resist federal oversight always go down well,"
Tom Wilson, head of strategic services for consultancy Africa
Practice, told AMM sister publication Metal
If he wishes, Katumbi could
allow the exports to continue, despite the directive from the
central government in Kinshasa, Wilson added.
"Although the customs and security officials controlling the
border posts with Zambia should technically defer to Kinshasa,
Katanga is a long way from the capital and Katumbi probably has
the power to impose or ignore this ban as he sees fit," he
said, adding that tug of war between Katanga and Kinshasa will
have minimal effect on mining investors.
A version of this article
was first published by AMM sister publication Metal