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KINSHASA (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo said it would open talks on Friday with mining companies about implementing some of the most contentious provisions in a new mining code that hikes taxes and royalties in the face of objections from industry.

President Joseph Kabila signed the new code earlier this month, replacing the previous 2002 law. Foreign investors in Congo, which include Glencore, Randgold, China Molybdenum and Ivanhoe, said it would scare off investment and violate existing agreements.

In a meeting before he signed the code, Kabila assured the companies their concerns would be discussed in follow-up talks to draft regulations for the sector.

Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu told reporters on Wednesday that the talks with major companies present in Congo, which is Africa’s top copper producer and mines more than half the world’s cobalt, would begin on Friday at 0900 GMT.

According to a work plan Kabwelulu sent to the companies, the negotiations will be divided into six “pillars” running from March 16 to April 24, with a preliminary draft of the regulations to be completed by May 2. Government officials have already begun work on pillar 1.

The regulations must be adopted by the government within 90 days of the code’s signing - on June 7.

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