Unrest causes junior to lose mine...

A JUNIOR Canadian-listed company, Banro Resources Corporation, has had its 13 million ounce gold mine in the southern Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) seized, its field equipment looted and four of its staff jailed for treason in Kinshasa.

Banro chairman and CEO Bernard Van Rooyen said the company was accused by DRC president Laurent Kabila of allegedly financially supporting the rebels, not paying taxes and acquiring its mining titles illegally.

As a result, lawyers acting on the company’s behalf seized a shipment of 99 tonnes of tin oxide valued at about US$396,000 at Cape Town. The product was being shipped overseas by Gecamines, the DRC state-owned mining company.

Mr Van Rooyen said his company had taken its case to arbitration in Washington with the Centre for Settlement of Inter-national Disputes between governments and private investors.

“The government in Kinshasa should withdraw its charges against our people (two Congolese lawyers and two Congolese company executives) and return our mining titles,” he said.

Additionally, in South Africa, lawyers acting on behalf of several creditors, including Manica Trading Co. and Lubumbashi mining contractors, have seized a large shipment of LME-grade cobalt in South Africa. The shipment was being exported overseas by Gecamines.

Manica Trading is a major company, based in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, operating freight, transport and storage services and also contracts in Zambia and the DRC.

The cobalt shipment is being held pending settlement of certain debts owed by Gecamines for services rendered.

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