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Cablegate: Congolese Uranium: Gdrc Looks to China for Help

VZCZCXRO4862
OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0189/01 0531446
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 221446Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7579
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA IMMEDIATE 4044
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA IMMEDIATE 0043
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK IMMEDIATE
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA IMMEDIATE 0026
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC IMMEDIATE

<<142612>>
2/22/2008 14:46
08KINSHASA189
Embassy Kinshasa
SECRET//NOFORN
07KINSHASA798
VZCZCXRO4862
OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0189/01 0531446
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 221446Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7579
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA IMMEDIATE 4044
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA IMMEDIATE 0043
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK IMMEDIATE
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA IMMEDIATE 0026
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC IMMEDIATE
TAGS: EMIN ENRG ETRD KNNP PGOV PINR PINS
SUBJECT: CONGOLESE URANIUM: GDRC LOOKS TO CHINA FOR HELP
REF: 07 KINSHASA 798


S e c r e t section 01 of 02 kinshasa 000189

Sipdis

Noforn
sipdis

Department for isn/ness dfenstermacher
af/c

E.o. 12958: decl: 02/22/2018
Tags: emin, enrg, etrd, knnp, pgov, pinr, pins
Subject: congolese uranium: gdrc looks to china for help

Ref: 07 kinshasa 798

Classified By: Acting DCM Craig Cloud for reasons 1.4 (b), (c), and (f)

1. (S/NF) Summary: Minister xxxxxxxxxxxx briefed the Ambassador on
possible future Chinese involvement in uranium studies in the
DRC at the request of President Kabila. End Summary.

2. (U) Minister xxxxxxxxxxxx requested a meeting with
Ambassador Garvelink Thursday, 21 February after having met
with him the previous week, along with Management Officer
xxxxxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxxxxxx to the United
States, xxxxxxxxxxxx, to discuss recent complaints from
Washington DC community groups concerning the advanced state
of decay of the GDRC properties in Washington. We assumed
that the subject of the follow-on meeting would be the same.
It was not.

3. (SBU) xxxxxxxxxxxx emphasized that he was delivering a demarche
at the request of President Kabila. He said the GDRC was
very sensitive as to how the USG perceived the relationship
between the GDRC and the Chinese Government, and he had
requested the meeting in the interest of transparency. xxxxxxxxxxxx
presented a rather lengthy description of the poor state of
affairs in the Congo, recently emerged from a dictatorship
that had stagnated development, closely followed by two civil
wars, lack of infrastructure, education and capacity.

4. (SBU) He said the DRC,s sole means of escaping this
situation was by trading on its only assets -- natural
resources. He reeled off a litany of recent infrastructure
agreements with China that aimed to construct 3600 km (2200
miles) of paved roads, 3200 km (2000 miles) of railway lines,
two universities, 51 105-bed hospitals, and 32 150-bed
hospitals, all in return for mineral rights to copper and
cobalt that the Chinese are willing to pay more for than
western nations.

5. (S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx said that the reason for our meeting was to
let the USG know that the GDRC was very concerned about its
uranium deposits. He noted two problems facing the GDRC in
this regard: 1) the size of uranium deposits and their
locations are unknown and present a grave national security
problem; and 2) what to do with all of the uranium once the
locations and quantities are known. To address the first
problem, xxxxxxxxxxxx said the GDRC is negotiating an agreement to
allow Chinese geological studies aimed at pinpointing the
location and size of uranium deposits. He stressed that the
negotiations are only tentative, and that they are strictly
to study uranium distribution, not/not extraction.

6. (S/NF) To address the second problem, xxxxxxxxxxxx stated that
once the quantity and location of the uranium reserves is
determined the GDRC might approach the "nuclear club" to
determine their interest in buying the uranium. (Note: The
GDRC currently has a law on the books that absolutely
prohibits the mining of uranium within its borders.
According to open sources there are at least two companies
already engaged in Uranium exploration in the DRC, Brinkley
Mining Plc, and Elemental Minerals, Ltd. End Note.)

7. (S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx said the GDRC would welcome our advice on
this uranium matter and requested that we treat the
conversation as confidential. The Ambassador said he would
report back to Washington and might have more questions and
comments at a later date.

8. (S/NF) Comment: xxxxxxxxxxxx is a long-time political
ally of both Joseph and Laurent Kabila, and has been closely
involved in negotiations with the Chinese on infrastructure
improvements. The timeframe for reaching an agreement for
uranium exploration by the Chinese is unknown, but we believe
that negotiations have already begun. With the recent sharp
increases in uranium prices on the world market, partly due
to renewed interest in new nuclear power generating stations,
the GDRC may well be interested in not only knowing where its
uranium deposits are, but in making the moves necessary now
to cash in on the potential demand for uranium (reftel). End

Kinshasa 00000189 002 of 002


Comment.
Garvelink

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