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DRC lifts export ban on Glencore's copper and cobalt unit

LONDON – A Glencore unit in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had a ban on imports and exports from its giant copper and cobalt mine lifted by authorities in the country.

“They submitted a request,” Jean Baptiste Nkongolo Kabila, director general of Congo’s custom’s agency, said Thursday by phone. “I have taken the decision to temporarily lift the suspension measures.”

Katanga Mining, which is controlled by Glencore, said in a statement earlier Thursday it had been blocked on November 9 from exporting copper and cobalt from Congo over a dispute around payments on copper that was never actually mined years ago. The Congo government is asking for $129.8-million to settle the dispute, a number rejected by Katanga.

Katanga Mining and its Kamoto copper and cobalt mine is one of Glencore’s most important growth projects. It restarted production in December after a two-year hiatus during which it invested in new processing facilities. It had expected to produce as much as 300 000 metric tons of copper and 34 000 tons of cobalt in 2019, which would make it Congo’s largest copper project and the world’s biggest source of cobalt.

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