Kinshasa — The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has ordered Sinohydro and China Railway Construction’s local mining venture to stop exporting unprocessed copper and cobalt and to refine all its metals within the country. The venture, called Sicomines, must ship "only high-value products" as the government looked to "ensure the prompt repayment" of the country’s $6bn minerals-for-infrastructure deal with China, Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu said on October 2 in response to questions. Sicomines’s profit is used to pay off the loans China provides to the DRC, which will be reimbursed quicker if the mine exports higher-value, refined metals. The $3.2bn mining project operated by Sicomines accounted for about a quarter of copper concentrate and 5% of copper cathode exports in 2016 from the DRC, Africa’s biggest copper producer. Sicomines exported 115,000 tonnes of copper concentrate and 20,000 tonnes of copper cathodes in the first half of 2017, according to the provincial division o...

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