Democratic Republic of Congo
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The DRC has proven to be a problematic jurisdiction in which to invest, as corruption is present and requires a very powerful and visible force to counter. Most of the risk is political, however, as the Mining Code itself does not offer a platform of expropriation - thus, problems that have arisen in relation to many companies, First Quantum being possibly the most notorious, have arisen through a combination of either skilful tactics or the rudimentary blunt edge of power in the President's Office. No Code, no matter how good, can protect against a government or its (formal or informal) agents that are determined to extract value from a project or economically expropriate its value. Corruption aside, the 2018 amendments to the Mining Code have created further challenges in what was already a highly challenging investment environment. The intention of the government is clear and one need only read the introductory text of the amendments to appreciate the primary motivation behind the changes. In the past, the DRC’s vast resource wealth has proved worthy of investment in spite of the many obstacles faced but one must wonder if the government has gone too far, tipping the balance so that the costs now outweigh the benefits!
NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING ASSESSMENT HAS BEEN MADE ON THE BASIS OF THE MINING CODE 2002; THE MINING CODE AMENDMENTS 2018; AND THE MINING REGULATIONS 2003. NEW MINING REGULATIONS ARE PLANNED AS PART OF THE AMENDMENTS TO THE MINING CODE; NEW APPLICATIONS FOR MINING RIGHTS ARE SUSPENDED UNTIL THE REVISED REGULATIONS ARE ISSUED (ART. 335, MC). AT SUCH TIME OUR ANALYSIS WILL BE UPDATED.