Congo Kicks Out 6 Small Chinese Mining Ventures. China BACKS the Ban

Wait, no Mossadeq-style coup by the Chinese CIA?

A Chinese miner nabbed in Nigeria

China gave its backing on Tuesday to a Congolese provincial government’s order last month banning six small Chinese-owned mining companies operating illegally.

The move comes as Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi increases scrutiny of Chinese mining activities, reviewing a $6 billion “infrastructure-for-minerals” deal with Chinese investors and reassessing China Molybdenum’s Tenke Fungurume mine.

The governor of Congo’s eastern South Kivu province, Theo Kasi, suspended the operations of the six small Chinese companies on Aug 20, ordering all local and foreign staff to leave the sites.

Kasi said the suspension came after the companies missed a deadline to register their activities with the authorities.

Kasi identified the companies as BM Global Business, Congo Blueant Minerals, Orientale Ressource Congo, Yellow Water Ressources, New Continent Mineral, and Groupe Cristal, ordering all local and foreign staff to leave the sites. Reuters was unable to reach the companies for comment.

The director-general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Department of African Affairs, Wu Peng, tweeted here that the authorities of China’s Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces had ordered the six companies to halt business and leave South Kivu “as soon as possible”.

Source: Reuters

China-DRC relations were already being tested after DRC President Felix Tshisekedi ordered a review of mining deals with Chinese companies signed by his predecessor Joseph Kabila.

The DRC is also under pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to “clean up lopsided mining agreements granted to foreign firms” as a precondition for a new US$1.5 billion credit line.

President Tshisekedi wants a US$6 billion deal covering infrastructure and minerals signed in 2008 with Chinese companies to be renegotiated. [I imagine $6bn is a lot less money than it was in 2008.]

Former president Kabila had negotiated for Chinese companies to be offered cobalt and copper in exchange for the construction of infrastructure. Congolese state-owned commodity trading and mining company Gecamines formed a joint venture named Sicomines with a consortium of Chinese firms led by Sinohydro and China Railway Engineering Corporation to develop a copper and cobalt mine for US$9 billion.

However, the value was renegotiated to US$6 billion after a push from the IMF. So far, about US$2.7 billion has been paid by the Chinese side, mostly in the form of investments, according to the DRC.

China’s foreign ministry on Monday defended the deal, saying the model had not only increased tax revenue and created more jobs in the DRC but had also provided investment in infrastructure projects such as roads, hospitals and hydropower stations.

“Not long ago, [Chinese companies] signed with the province of Katanga a US$11.5 million aid agreement to support the construction of local roads and power facilities, and improvement of education, medical care and environment, which has been warmly welcomed by the local people,” ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.

“I want to stress that China and the DRC boast a long-standing friendship and bilateral practical cooperation has yielded fruitful win-win results.”

It is the second major deal that the DRC wants to be reviewed after the Congolese government in August formed a commission to investigate the reserves at the Tenke Fungurume Mining (TFM) copper and cobalt project, which is majority-owned by China Molybdenum. This would help determine the true value of the government’s shareholding through its state-owned mining company La ­Generale des Carrieres et des Mines, which owns 20 per cent.

The DRC controls more than 60 per cent of the world’s reserves of cobalt ore. Other Chinese companies operating in the DRC include Huayou Cobalt, Chengtun Mining, Wanbao and CNMC.

Baby Matabishi, a researcher at the Carter Centre in the DRC, said that renegotiating mining contracts was more about politics than business.

“The question is, what do we want to negotiate? We must avoid the same mistakes of the past,” Matabishi said. In 2007, the DRC revised the contracts, criticising the ones that had been signed.

“The result was that the major mines were ceded cheaply to friends of Joseph Kabila’s regime,” Matabishi said.

“Does the current regime want to do the same? We are afraid that what is being considered will lead us to make the same mistakes.”

Source: South China Morning Post

  1. Raptar Driver says

    It’s seems that no one gives a shit about Africa?

  2. tobi999 says

    if that had been Americans like Exxon Mobil, the US had made a coup in DRC….

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.