Kinshasa blocks Sicomines imports to force contract review
The state auditor is stepping up pressure on the miner owned by China and DRC in the hope of forcing the initial 2008 deal between Kinshasa and Beijing to be renegotiated.
Ever since Félix Tshisekedi took power, Washington had hoped he would curb China's huge influence in the country. Four years later, the United States is bitterly disappointed that it has failed to break Beijing's hegemony in strategic mining issues.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which aims to improve transparency in the mining and oil sectors, has obtained only limited results in the African countries which have adopted it. The organisation, based in Norway, relies heavily on its member countries' representatives, who often have ties with governments and extractive industry companies.
The Chinese middleman Simon Cong was named in the Congo hold-up report on embezzlement by the Kabila family, and is about to be named in another investigation. He has recently expanded his mining interests in the DRC.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) will try to quickly discover if the mineral deposits mined by Sino-Congolese joint venture Sicomines are sufficent to enable the DRC to repay China's investment costs in the venture or if China should be given free access to other sites, as the agreement at the origin of the project provides.