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07KINSHASA654 2007-06-13 09:12:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kinshasa
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1. Summary. The GDRC has officially begun its mining contract
review process. A South African mining company has removed
all artisanal miners from its Katanga copper concession. The
GDRC and the Government of Rwanda continue discussions about
methane gas exploration in Lake Kivu. End summary.



2. (U) The GDRC formally launched the work of its mining
contract review commission at a brief ceremony on June 11, at
which Minister of Mines Martin Kabwelulu spoke. The Carter
Center will receive USD 50,000 from George Soros' Open
Society Institute to provide technical assistance for the
process, although it has not yet agreed with the GDRC on the
details of this support.



3. (SBU) An executive at South African copper mining company
Metorex told EconOff June 11 the company has been able to
remove peacefully the 2500 artisanal miners on its Katanga
province concession in the last two months by paying them USD
200 each. Thus far none have tried to return to the
concession, which is located just outside Lubumbashi.



4. (SBU) New York Stock Exchange-listed gold mining company
Newmont is exploring the possibility of investing in the DRC.



5. (U) The GDRC and Government of Rwanda have formed a
commission to discuss methane gas exploitation on Lake Kivu,
pursuant to a March 28 Memorandum of Understanding reported
in reftel. The GDRC has not granted any concessions for the
project, although a Ministry of Hydrocarbons official told
EconOff several companies have expressed interest.



6. (SBU) A Ministry of Hydrocarbons official told EconOff the
GDRC still intends in the coming months to launch a call for
tender offers for petroleum exploration blocks in the Central
Basin, a region of potential oil reserves in Bandundu and
Equateur provinces. The Ministry is consulting with a
Brazilian firm to divide the blocks. A Ministry official
said preliminary testing at two sites in Bandundu was


7. (U) The GDRC briefly halted flights carrying tin ore for
export from the mining area of Walikale in North Kivu.
According to media reports, civil aviation authorities
suspended flights for several days claiming security
concerns; in May a plane overloaded with minerals crashed en
route from Walikale to Goma.