Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Kinshasa — The Democratic Republic of Congo’s supreme court has found that a provincial tribunal can hear a case brought by the state mining company to dissolve a unit of Glencore.

The decision is a setback for the Swiss commodity trader, which is facing multiple disputes in the central African nation.

Glencore-controlled Katanga Mining had challenged the Kolwezi commercial court’s competence to hear the case, in which state miner Gecamines is seeking to dissolve Kamoto Copper. The supreme court declared Kamoto’s case admissible but unfounded on May 30, said Roger Masamba, a lawyer representing Gecamines. A date for the next hearing in Kolwezi had not been set yet, he said.

Gecamines said the dissolution of Kamoto was "a serious and imminent risk" unless the parties reached an agreement, Masamba said.

Kamoto, which operates a copper and cobalt mine in southeast DRC, is a joint venture between Katanga, which owns 75% of the company, and Gecamines. Glencore owns more than 86% of Katanga.

Gecamines launched proceedings in April to shut down Kamoto over what it says was Glencore’s failure to address a capital shortfall at the company.