December 3, 2018 / 2:32 PM / in 4 months

Congo begins audit of Glencore unit over radioactivity concerns

FILE PHOTO: The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company's headquarters in Baar, Switzerland, July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

DAKAR (Reuters) - Authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo have started auditing a Glencore unit’s supply chain to determine where small amounts of uranium detected in its cobalt come from, the mines ministry said on Monday.

Glencore subsidiary Katanga Mining said on Nov. 6 it had halted cobalt exports from its Kamoto project in southeastern Congo while it builds a facility to remove excess uranium.

The Congo mines minister suggested last week that Glencore had suspended exports and announced its investment in the $25 million facility to avoid higher taxes that would kick in once Kamoto’s operations became profitable.   

“The audit is already ongoing,” Valery Mukasa, the mines minister’s chief of staff, said in text message. He did not provide further details.

A Glencore spokesman declined to comment.

Glencore’s relations with Congolese authorities have grown increasingly strained in recent months as the government pushes for foreign investors to contribute more to state coffers.

Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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