UPDATE 2-Congo bans exports of copper, cobalt concentrates

Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:27pm EDT
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* Congo says companies have 90 days to clear stocks

* Other emerging countries have taken similar steps

* Glencore, Freeport McMoRan already process copper in Congo

By Jonny Hogg

KINSHASA, April 17 (Reuters) - The Democratic Republic of Congo has banned exports of copper and cobalt concentrates to encourage miners to process and refine the red metal within its borders, according to an order from the Mines Ministry.

The order, seen by Reuters on Wednesday, provides companies 90 days to clear stocks before the ban is enforced. It is dated April 5 and signed by Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu.

Congo is not alone among emerging, resource-rich nations in discouraging exports of concentrates - the intermediate products that feed smelters and refiners - to focus on producing higher-value intermediate or finished products.

These, countries often argue, bring more revenue into state coffers and demand an increasingly skilled workforce.

"Little by little, within the next three months, we need to no longer export concentrates," Kabwelulu told Reuters by text message on Wednesday.   Continued...