A legal and technical team representing the major mining companies operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) arrived in Kinshasa on March 15 to engage with the government on its new mining code. This follows a March 7 meeting where DRC President Joseph Kabila gave an assurance that the questions raised by the industry would be resolved through transitional arrangements, mining regulations and agreements, and guarantees that need to be considered after the new code was signed into law. In the meeting, the parties were requested to meet for a 30-day period.

As agreed with Kabila, a matrix of the industry’s issues as well as proposals regarding the mining code have been delivered to the DRC minister of mines. The companies are now awaiting an appointment with the minister to discuss a program of engagement with the government’s working group. The companies in their meeting with Kabila confirmed their willingness to negotiate additional royalties and changes to other taxes as part of this process.

The new mining code raises royalties on minerals and removes a clause that said miners had 10 years to comply with any change in the law.

The companies said they plan to focus on the stability clauses contained in Article 276 of the 2002 mining code and certain mining conventions. Especially Article 276, which provided the 10-year period of stability after any changes are made. This resulted in more than US$10 billion in direct investments by the mining industry, which created more than 20,000 full-time jobs in the DRC, the companies said.

In the meantime, Randgold Resources’ and AngloGold Ashanti’s Kibali mine, Glencore’s Mutanda mine and Kamoto Copper Co., the Kamoa-Kakula mine, MMG’s Kinsevere mine and CMOC’s Tenke Fungurume mine have resigned from the Federation des Entreprises du Congo (FEC), the Congolese Chamber of Commerce, with immediate effect. These mines, which represent more than 85% of the DRC’s copper, cobalt and gold production, said the FEC does not adequately represent their interests.