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DR Congo Revokes Concessions for Richest Cobalt Deposits

East African Business Week (Kampala)

3 September 2007
Posted to the web 4 September 2007

The DR Congo has revoked mining concessions for the world's richest cobalt deposits.

The mining licences that have been revoked by the public prosecutor belong to CAMEC and Savannah Mining in the DRC's Katanga province.

The judicial decision has been taken to revoke and cancel the licences held for the area known as C19.

The current holders are Boss Mining (owned by CAMEC) and Mukondo Mining, itself owned by Savannah Mining and Boss Mining.

The cancellation of those licenses means the rights to mine the C19 area reverts to Gecamines, the state-owned mining company.

The Public Prosecutor's decision has been formally taken on a number of clear legal points, all of which relate to the serious irregularities in the original issuing of the licences.

They include improper issue of the licences, which put Gecamines in breach of the laws relating to the conduct of publicly owned companies and that the licences were never registered.

The licence certificates were issued without the fundamental articles of transfer, and without the required acceptance, by the licensees, of their obligations to the state.

"As such, they specifically do not comply with The Mining Code and the laws of the DRC. The allocation of the licences involved violation of the Mining Regulations 377 and 379," a press statement issued by the public prosecutors' office reads in part.

The background to the action is the DR Congo government's stated intention to review all mining licences held by foreign companies, to ensure that all are transparent, legally well-founded and based on international standards.

Independent legal and financial experts are reviewing each contract because many were arranged during the civil war and its aftermath, often in flagrant breach of procedures, regulations and laws.

"Such breaches cannot be allowed to continue," the statement said.

The government of President Joseph Kabila, who was elected in November last year, has expressed its determination to enforce internationally recognised standards of regulation and law, so as to attract and assist major international investors and operators in the DRC's mining sector.

Copyright © 2007 East African Business Week. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).