Congo scraps plans to revise mining code amid industry pressure

10 February 2016 (Last Updated February 10th, 2016 18:30)

Congo has scrapped plans to reform its mining code due to opposition from mine operators, which claim that the change would discourage new investment.

Congo has scrapped plans to reform its mining code due to opposition from mine operators, which claim that the change would discourage new investment.

Reuters quoted Congo Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu saying at an annual mining conference in Cape Town that the government will not make any changes to the code in order to boost revenues.

Kabwelulu said: "At this point, it should be noted that... the government has opted to maintain the application of the mining code and its provisions currently in place."

"Weak regulation of the mining sector means that Congo's government does not have the revenues to pay for the schools, hospitals and roads."

The leading cobalt producer, Congo began reviewing the 2002 mining code in 2012.

The government approved the revised laws in March 2012, which included hike in profit taxes to 35% from 30%, and increase in royalties on copper and cobalt revenue to 3.5% from 2%, Bloomberg reported.

London-based campaign group Global Witness Congo team leader Nathaniel Dyer said: "Weak regulation of the mining sector means that Congo's government does not have the revenues to pay for the schools, hospitals and roads that the population desperately needs.

"Scrapping the effort to reform this law is a huge missed opportunity in a country where, if managed well, revenues from mining could offer a critical route out of poverty and contribute to stability."

"The government must reverse this decision and resume consultations on a new law that will ensure that mining revenues benefit the Congolese people."

The mining sector of Congo has been undermined by poor governance that has led to huge loss in mining revenues, Global Witness said.