Congo sees copper concentrate ban in full force by July, August

Fri May 17, 2013 8:14am EDT
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* Mines minister confirms ban will be fully enforced

* Says miners will get three months to allow them adjust

* Government to discuss power supply issue with mining firms

By Risa Maeda

TOKYO, May 17 (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) expects its ban on the export of copper and cobalt concentrates to come into full force by July or August, as it presses mining companies to process and refine the metals within its borders, the mines minister said.

Congo, one of Africa's top copper producers, is not alone among emerging resource-rich nations hoping to discourage exports of concentrates, the intermediate products that feed smelters and refiners.

But the unexpected plan to ban the export of concentrates, announced last month, was questioned by many in the industry, who pointed to acute electricity shortages that already severely hamper processing activities there.

The powerful governor of Congo's copper-producing Katanga province Moise Katumbi has said he would not enforce the measure.

"I'm confirming the ban on copper concentrate," Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu told Reuters on Friday on the sidelines of a conference in Tokyo.   Continued...