Mineral exports from Congo’s Kivu to resume

Mineral exports from Congo’s Kivu to resume

KINSHASA – Mineral exports from Congo’s eastern Kivu provinces should start to resume next week after the government halted them to enforce rules on processing and transportation, a local official said on Saturday.

The vast, mineral-rich central African country suspended exports from the North and South Kivu provinces – which produce cassiterite, tungsten ore and coltan – earlier this week to ensure “counters” who process and export minerals had licences. The move is part of efforts by a new government installed in February in Democratic Republic of Congo to tighten regulations governing its mining industry following the former Belgian colony’s first free elections in four decades last year.”We should restart exports by mid-week,” Emmanuel Ndimubanzi, head of the mines division in the provincial government of North Kivu, told Reuters by telephone.But he said only four of 22 counters had been cleared to apply for licences, which show the minerals were processed within Congo and allow them to be exported from the country.”Two counters have already paid for their permits.By the end of next week we should have at least four counters up and running,” he said from the provincial capital Goma.Mining in the Kivu provinces is largely small-scale.In order to qualify for permits, counters must show they have the equipment necessary to wash, crush and treat minerals.Some traders say the demands are too strict.”They can ask us to get a minimum of equipment but they are asking us to get more advanced equipment when there is not even electricity here,” said mineral buyer John Kanyoni, adding traders were in negotiations with the mines ministry.”We hope in a very short time to have a solution.If not by next week, we’ll have to stop working.How can we continue buying when we don’t know when we’ll be able to export,” he said, adding many counters were now sitting on large stocks.He said counters based in Goma, who between them exported nearly 700 tonnes of minerals last month, were requesting a reliable electricity supply and more time to buy equipment.The eastern border provinces exported 5 300 tonnes of cassiterite and 499 tonnes of tungsten ore, or wolframite, in 2006, and North Kivu alone exported 40 tonnes of coltan.But due to widespread smuggling, in many cases by armed militia and the Congolese army, official exports represent only a fraction of the minerals that make it over the border.Nampa-ReutersThe move is part of efforts by a new government installed in February in Democratic Republic of Congo to tighten regulations governing its mining industry following the former Belgian colony’s first free elections in four decades last year.”We should restart exports by mid-week,” Emmanuel Ndimubanzi, head of the mines division in the provincial government of North Kivu, told Reuters by telephone.But he said only four of 22 counters had been cleared to apply for licences, which show the minerals were processed within Congo and allow them to be exported from the country.”Two counters have already paid for their permits.By the end of next week we should have at least four counters up and running,” he said from the provincial capital Goma.Mining in the Kivu provinces is largely small-scale.In order to qualify for permits, counters must show they have the equipment necessary to wash, crush and treat minerals.Some traders say the demands are too strict.”They can ask us to get a minimum of equipment but they are asking us to get more advanced equipment when there is not even electricity here,” said mineral buyer John Kanyoni, adding traders were in negotiations with the mines ministry.”We hope in a very short time to have a solution.If not by next week, we’ll have to stop working.How can we continue buying when we don’t know when we’ll be able to export,” he said, adding many counters were now sitting on large stocks.He said counters based in Goma, who between them exported nearly 700 tonnes of minerals last month, were requesting a reliable electricity supply and more time to buy equipment.The eastern border provinces exported 5 300 tonnes of cassiterite and 499 tonnes of tungsten ore, or wolframite, in 2006, and North Kivu alone exported 40 tonnes of coltan.But due to widespread smuggling, in many cases by armed militia and the Congolese army, official exports represent only a fraction of the minerals that make it over the border.Nampa-Reuters

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