Mining companies said on Monday the Congolese government’s suspension of negotiations with them over new regulations could jeopardise investments, and urged it to resist making big changes to the mining code.

Democratic Republic of Congo’s chamber of mines said in a statement timed to coincide with an industry event in Cape Town that the government had unilaterally suspended consultations last week and sent a draft to parliament without giving the chamber a chance to see the final text.

The industry is opposed to proposed increases in royalties that companies pay the state, as well as other aspects of mining regulation. Discussions over revising the 2002 mining code have dragged on since 2013.

The ministry of mines was not immediately available for comment.

Despite large gains in the production of copper, gold and other minerals in recent years, Congo remains one of the world’s least developed countries, languishing second from the bottom of the UN development index.

Mining companies say that Congo’s regulatory environment must be particularly attractive to draw investors, given the country’s poor infrastructure and political instability.

“Investment dollars are mobile and will quickly leave a mining jurisdiction if the legislative environment deteriorates,” the chamber’s statement said.

Reuters

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