Kolwezi — The prime minister of Democratic Republic of Congo will sign a decree in the coming days to designate cobalt and other minerals as "strategic" and therefore subject to higher royalties, mines minister Martin Kabwelulu said on Saturday. The change is part of a new mining code, which mining companies such as Glencore and Randgold oppose as it axes tax exemptions and hikes royalties and profit taxes. They have been holding out the hope that it might be watered down in further negotiations. The government has not yet formally announced which metals will be classed as strategic in the new code and subject to royalties of 10%. Before the code was introduced, companies paid a rate of 2% for cobalt. Addressing a mining conference in the copper and cobalt-mining city of Kolwezi, Kabwelulu said: "In the coming days, you will see the prime minister sign a decree to declare cobalt and certain other substances as strategic." Miners of cobalt would have paid a royalty of 3.5% under the ...

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