Democratic Republic of Congo has again delayed a ban on exports of copper and cobalt concentrate because it lacks enough electricity to process the minerals domestically, the mines ministry and chamber of mines said on Tuesday.
Congo, which leads Africa in copper output and the world in cobalt production, first ordered the ban in 2013 in a bid to encourage local industry to shift production to higher-value finished metals.
But about 30 percent of the metals continue to be exported in concentrate form. This December, the government extended an exemption set to expire at the end of 2015 by one year, the vice-president responsible for mining in the Federation of Congolese Businesses, Simon Tuma-Waku, told Reuters.
“It has been extended because the problem of electricity has not been resolved yet,” Tuma-Waku said.
The decision has not been announced publicly yet.
Congo’s industrial mines in the southeast of the country receive about half of the electricity they need to operate at full capacity, relying on expensive imports from neighbouring countries and generators to make up the difference.
Valery Mukasa, the chief of staff to Congo’s mines minister, confirmed that the ban had been delayed due to power shortages.