The National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has called for a review of the country’s mining agreements with China.
The central African nation will seek to expand its share of the revenue from the foreign-backed mining that takes place there.
Christophe Mboso, speaker of the DRC national assembly, pointed to “certain partners such as the Chinese contract,” who they say are not paying their fair share.
Sino Congolaise des Mines (Sicomines), a Chinese majority joint venture operating in the country, was singled out as a significant target for an increase in tax rate.
“Sicomines, it seems, is not keen on paying the $200m that the DRC is asking for after making huge profits,” said Nicholas Kazadi, DRC finance minister.
Kazadi also stated that the contracts signed previously were biased in favour of Chinese interests.
It comes nearly two months after the DRC state auditor sought $17bn in infrastructure investment from the Sinohydro, the Chinese corporation that holds a controlling stake in Sicomines, via Reuters.
Sicomines had already pledged $3bn as part of the original agreement, but DRC President Felix Tshisekedi has started negotiations on a new settlement, which will increase this investment requirement to $20bn. This is to compensate for apparent concessions made by the DRC side when signing the joint deal.
The auditors also stated in a report that Sicomines had spent less than $1bn of the $3bn initially pledged, and called for another $1bn of the funding to be released. They also called for an increase in the DRC’s 32% stake in the company.
According to the Institute for Chinese Studies , nearly 70% of the DRC’s mining operations are Chinese-controlled. This puts into perspective the Congolese hopes to finalise the amendment of 2007’s initial agreement with Sicomines by the end of 2023.