Congo hit by further drop in Copper production

Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa’s biggest Copper producer has recorded another slump in the commodity, losing 20 percent in the first quarter of 2016.  The top miner of the red metal was last year hit by a 3 percent drop to 995,805 metric tons.

Cobalt and gold also deteriorated amid low prices and production shortages, affecting Congo’s economy, which derives 98 percent of its export earnings from the extractive industries, Reuters reported the country’s central bank as saying in a bulletin on Saturday.

Congo which mined 219,009 tones in the first three months of 2016, compared to 274,201, over the same period last year, has slashed 22 percent of its budget due to dwindling revenues in the mining sector.  Benchmark copper on the London metal exchange lost 25 percent in 2015 and slumped further this year, causing suspension of operations among mining companies and dismissal of workers.

Output of cobalt has also dropped by 19 percent to 16,396 tons in the first quarter of the year, and quarterly gold production also declined to 7,166 kilograms this year from 7,801 kg last year, an 8 percent slide.

Companies which opened up new gold mines in the last five years and increased the country’s industrial output from near zero in 2011 to over 30 tones at the end of last year also say the country’s largest gold mine is expected to fall by 5 percent this year as a result of mining lower grade ore.