Saturday, December 20, 2008

Breaking News: Mining Review Completed, but Majors Walk

Reuters is reporting that Victor Kasongo, the "deputy" minister of mines, says that the government has completed its drawn-out review of mining contracts but that six companies have walked away from renegotiation talks. Those six are: Freeport-McMoRan, First Quantum, Banro, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, and Mwana Africa.
The mineral-rich central African nation began the review process early last year, aiming to overhaul 61 deals most of which were agreed during the chaos of a 1998-2003 war.
The review was initially due to be completed within six months, but contract renegotiations between state miners and their private partners have dragged on for months.
Last month, Congo's central bank governor cited the lagging process, along with weakening global demand for metals and a worsening armed conflict in the eastern borderlands, as responsible for an acute mining sector slowdown.
Kasongo said the process will now be extended an additional 45 days to allow the six companies to return to the negotiating table for direct talks with government ministers.
"We are now worried about the remaining six contracts. It's a huge chunk of our resources," Kasongo said.
"We want them to sit at the table and finish this thing. It's not the intention of the government to cancel them."

No comments:

Post a Comment