The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will allow
exports of copper and cobalt concentrates until Dec. 31,
extending an export window to mining companies that previously
was planned to end this month.
"The exports of copper
and cobalt concentrates are prohibited. However, a moratorium
of up (to Dec. 31, 2013, has been) given to all mining
operators that produce copper concentrates and cobalt to comply
with this ban," DRC mines minister Martin Kabwelulu said in a
decree. "Mine operators producing concentrates of copper and
cobalt can continue exporting during the period of the
The decision was taken
after "considering the difficulties which relate to the
persistent energy deficit" in the DRC, Kabwelulu said.
A document seen by
AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin does
not mention any change to the export tax on concentrates, which
sources said this week they expect to increase to $100 per
tonne from $60.
"They have released
trucks that were stuck (at the) Division des Mines (awaiting
export clearance)," a knowledgeable source said. "They will
start to implement (the tax) from July 15."
A meeting to finalize
the tax level took place July 10, after the decree was signed,
market sources told Metal Bulletin.
The DRCs plan to
ban concentrate exports has driven a political wedge between
the national government in Kinshasa and the governor of Katanga
province, Moise Katumbi, who publicly rejected the ban and
vowed not to enforce it, arguing that the Congo does not have
enough electricity to process the finished product.
Copper & Gold Inc.s Tenke Fungurume Mining in the DRC
has advised its customers that its supply of cobalt hydroxide
intermediate product has been adversely affected due to
inadequate electricity supplies.
International also said that it is unable to raise capacity at
its Big Hill smelter due to inadequate electricity
Market jitters over
the ban resulted in a 24-percent spike in the Metal
Bulletin low-grade free-market price of cobalt to $13.80
to $15 per pound July 10.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister
publication Metal Bulletin.