SMM11, 19 March: "I have decided to lift the suspension temporarily," Jean Baptiste Nkongolo Kabila, director-general of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said by telephone. Katanga Mining Co., Ltd., controlled by Glencore, said in a statement earlier last week that it had indicated on Nov. 9 that its export of Congolese copper and cobalt had been hampered by a dispute over the payment of copper that had never actually been mined many years ago. The Congolese government asked for $129.8 million to resolve the dispute, a request Katanga rejected. Katanga Mining and its Kamoto copper-cobalt mine are one of the most important growth projects for Glencore. Production resumed after a two-year interruption during which new processing facilities were invested. Up to 300000 tons of copper and 34000 tons of cobalt are expected to be produced in 2019, making it the largest copper project in the Congo and the largest cobalt mine in the world.
The suspension of orders for the import and export of all cobalt mines by the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the latest challenge for Glencore in 2018. Earlier this year, it agreed to a $5.6 billion debt-to-equity swap at Katanga, effectively reducing the debt burden on its Glencore subsidiary. The deal also includes a one-time payment of $150 million to Gecamines, a Congolese state-owned enterprise, which has raised concerns among some investors and NGOs.
A Glencore spokesman declined to comment.
Katanga shares rose after news of the lifting of the ban, climbing 18 per cent after the same earlier decline, and its Toronto stock market rose 2.3 per cent.
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