On April 5th the DRC government decided to stop the export of cobalt and copper concentrates . The decision was made public on April 17th and on the 18th Katanga Governor Moses Katumbi announced that he would not comply with it .
The logic announced as being behind the ban was simple , not to say simplistic : push towards the development of new electric resources . The big companies like Freeport MacMoran and the trader Glencore process their share of the mining (70%) inside the Congo . But newcomers like the Kazakh ENRC process it outside after exporting the concentrates .
The reason is lack of electrical power and prohibiting the export of concentrates is not going to make it better . The ban will not lead to more use of an electricity which is not there to use in the first place . So the main question is this : why did President Kabila take such a bizarre and apparently counterproductive decision ? This is a question I ask from my readers : readers please help me understand ! It could of course be linked to one of the multiple feuds within the man-eats-man world of Congolese mining . A company linked to Dan Gertler is said to have bought SMKK for $15m and then resold it shortly after to ENRC for $75m . If this is true , did it trigger something ? An unhappy intermediary ? Kitu kidogo money not paid ? Pressure on ENRC ? In any case , Katumbi’s enraged retort is a direct threat to the President . Katanga has been “Kabilaland” in the last two presidential elections . Fighting with its powerful Governor does not seem like a good idea for Joseph Kabila