Congo elections stall Cape Lambert’s push to develop Kipushi cobalt project
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Cape Lambert is facing delays in the development of its Kipushi cobalt and copper project in the Congo thanks to the change of government after recent elections.
The junior explorer (ASX:CFE) has had to continue its suspension from trading because it was unable to meet with the new Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government.
“The occurrence of these elections has caused delays in the communications with the DRC and the ability of the company to finalise matters in relation to the Kipushi project,” chairman Tony Sage told investors this morning.
Last weekend Felix Tshisekedi, the leader of the DRC’s main opposition party, was announced as the African country’s new president.
But his opponent, Martin Fayulu, believes he is the rightful ruler and has called on his many followers to protest against Mr Tshisekedi’s election.
I now consider myself as the sole legitimate President-elect of the #DRC. Therefore, I ask the Congolese people not to recognize any individual who would claim this authority illegally nor to obey orders that would emanate from such a person. #RDCVote #DRCElections pic.twitter.com/V2UaHm3A8L
— Martin Fayulu (@MartinFayulu) January 20, 2019
The Guardian reported on Monday that leaked internal data from the electoral commission in the DRC and from the Catholic church, which deployed more than 40,000 monitors on polling day, appeared to indicate that Mr Fayulu won convincingly with about 60 per cent of the votes cast.
Mr Fayulu reportedly believes Mr Tshisekedi took office because of a “secret deal” between him and the outgoing president, Joseph Kabila.
Political tensions problematic for miners
Aussie explorers and miners in the DRC are facing many issues including political unrest and a hike to the royalties levied on cobalt.
Late last year the government labelled cobalt a “strategic” metal and slapped a 10 per cent royalty on it.
That is almost triple the 3.5 per cent previously levied on the battery metal.
Over 60 per cent of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Congo and there are already issues plaguing the supply of the battery metal from the country because of reports of the use of child labour to mine it.
Meanwhile, the US Director of National Intelligence’s Worldwide Threat Assessment identified political violence in the DRC, Burundi and Central African Republic as specific causes of conflict in the near future.
Cape Lambert has requested it remain suspended from trading until February 5.