KINSHASA, March 6 Democratic Republic of Congo's
prime minister has told mining companies to halt any expansion
plans requiring extra power in the copper-rich Katanga province
due to an "energy crisis", a document seen by Reuters showed on
In a letter addressed to President Joseph Kabila and various
government ministers, Augustin Matata Ponyo said that national
power company SNEL should not grant any new energy contracts for
mining companies nor allow changes to existing contracts.
"I equally consider it necessary that mining clients
postpone immediately and until further notice any expansion
project requiring additional energy," Ponyo wrote in a letter
dated January 10.
International mining companies such as Glencore and
Freeport McMoRan and have major operations in Congo's
southeastern Katanga province, drawn to the region by huge
Miners in Katanga have complained of insufficient and
unreliable energy supplies limiting production. In the letter,
Ponyo says that of Katanga's demand of around 900 megawatts (MW)
from the mining companies, only 461.7 MW is available.
Congo produced a record 942,000 tonnes of copper last year,
a leap of 52 percent from the year before, the International
Monetary Fund said. That would make it Africa's largest producer
of the metal, according to commodities analysis company CRU