Mines in the DRC: Kinshasa Wants to Renegotiate the “Contract of the Century” with Beijing

maryam lahbal
maryam lahbal
2 Min Read

On the eve of the official start of President Félix Tshisekedi’s state visit to China, the Congolese authorities are waiting to rebuild the partnership with Beijing, undermined by the gigantic contract dubbed “mines against infrastructure” signed in 2008.

Signed under the presidency of Joseph Kabila, the contract between Kinshasa and Beijing provided for more than 6 billion dollars of Chinese investment in exchange for access to cobalt and copper mines. Fifteen years later, the expected results have not been there. The Congolese authorities, therefore, want to renegotiate.

According to a document consulted by RFI and following the revelations of Jeune Afrique and Reuters, the Congolese delegation in Beijing wants to rebalance the shares of Sicomines (Sino-conglaise des mines), this joint venture set up with the Congolese public company Gécamines and the Group of Chinese Enterprises (GEC). Kinshasa wants to go from 32% of shares currently held by Gécamines to 60% plus 10% “non-dilutable” of shares for the Congolese State, or 70% for the Congolese party. The share of the GEC would become a minority.

Governance guarantees

Kinshasa also wants guarantees on future governance: “to put an end to the role of extras of the agents of Gécamines”, to carry out a technical and financial audit of Sicomines, to put in place control mechanisms on the production sites, but also to settle the financing of infrastructure works for 1.5 billion dollars by a line of credit “managed by the Congolese party” and that Sicomines also ensures the construction of infrastructures to the tune of 667 million dollars.

Maryam Lahbal

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