Congo mining regulations committee completes work, miners say

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) - Major miners operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa’s top copper producer, said on Monday that a commission set up to draft detailed regulations to implement a new mining code had completed its work.

But the mining companies, which have vigorously opposed the new code, said they had not been given an opportunity to tackle what they regard as major flaws in the law.

The miners, which include Glencore, Randgold , AngloGold Ashanti, Ivanhoe and China Molybdenum, were represented on the drafting commission.

But they said they had not been able to negotiate over key issues in the new mining code as the talks were restricted to drafting the regulations within the parameters set by the new code.

President Joseph Kabila pledged before signing the law in March to work with international mining companies while implementing it.

The new mining code strips away a stability clause protecting existing investments from changes to the fiscal and customs regime for 10 years, introduces a 50 percent windfall profits tax and gives powers to the mines minister to raise royalties on minerals considered “strategic”.

“(The miners) pointed out again that flaws in the current provisions of the new code would immediately cause numerous practical and legal problems, which would have a negative impact on the development of the DRC’s mining industry as well as the country’s long-term economic prospects,” a joint statement by the mining companies said.

In March, mining companies submitted a proposal that included a sliding scale for royalty rates on key commodities that would replace the windfall profits tax.

A draft document of regulations seen by Reuters earlier this month showed that the government had made no substantial concessions to the mining companies.

The draft will be presented to the mining minister who will work with an inter-ministerial commission before presenting it to the government for approval, the joint statement said. (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by Adrian Croft)


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