Congo Triples Levy on Cobalt With Strategic-Minerals Decree

(Bloomberg) -- The Democratic Republic of Congo almost tripled royalties on cobalt and two other minerals to 10 percent, raising costs for companies including Glencore Plc and China Molybdenum Co.

Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala and Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu declared the commodity a “strategic mineral resource” on Nov. 24, according to a decree sent by mobile phone on Monday by Portfolio Minister Wivine Mumba Matipa. Coltan, used in mobile-phone components, and germanium, used to make semiconductors, were given the same categorization.

Congo accounts for two-thirds of global output of cobalt and is expected to extend that share to three-quarters by 2021 as producers bring new projects on stream. The country is also one of the top miners of coltan. Glencore and China Moly are the world’s biggest producers of cobalt.

The government singled out the three minerals because of their numerous applications in high-tech industries and the “current international economic conjuncture,” according to the decree.

The designation is part of an overhaul of Congolese mining legislation that was adopted in March as the state seeks to boost its share of revenue from the nation’s natural resources. Royalty payments on cobalt and coltan were previously 3.5 percent.

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