Congo delays ban on copper and cobalt exports due to power shortage

12 January 2016 (Last Updated January 12th, 2016 18:30)

Congo has delayed a ban on copper and cobalt concentrate exports until 2017 due to a nationwide shortage of electricity to process the minerals domestically.

Mining ban

Congo has delayed a ban on copper and cobalt concentrate exports until 2017 due to a nationwide shortage of electricity to process the minerals domestically.

Initially, the ban was announced in 2013 to encourage mining companies to process and refine the red metal within the country.

The ban was also aimed at helping local industry to shift production to finished metals that are of higher-value.

Reuters said that the order gave 90 days time to companies to clear stocks prior to enforcing the ban.

"It has been extended because the problem of electricity has not been resolved yet."

Federation des Entreprises du Congo (FEC) mining division head Simon Tuma-Waku told the news agency: "It has been extended because the problem of electricity has not been resolved yet."

The FEC said in November 2015 that production in the country is estimated to have fallen to 982,044t during the year from 1.04 million tonnes in 2014, Bloomberg reported.

The government had not previously made the decision to public.

Industrial mines in the south-east Congo receive around half of the required electricity to operate at full capacity.

In order to make up the shortage, the mines depend on expensive imports from neighbouring countries and generators.


Image: The ban was initially ordered in 2013 to encourage miners to process and refine copper. Photo: courtesy of duron123/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.