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Cablegate: Minister of Mines Shares Views On

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R 080812Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8391
INFO RUCNSAD/SADC COLLECTIVE
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000735

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV ETRD EMIN CG
SUBJECT: MINISTER OF MINES SHARES VIEWS ON
OM GROUP AND MINING CONTACT REVIEW

REF: STATE 88688

1. (SBU) Summary: DCM and Econcouns delivered reftel points to
Minister of Mines Martin Kabwelulu on September 3, highlighting the
need for a transparent mining review process and fair treatment for
U.S. investors including OM Group. Minister Kabwelulu provided an
overview of the mining review process to date, but was unfamiliar
with OM Group and claims he is unaware of any American participation
in the joint venture. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Kabwelulu told DCM and Econcouns that the GDRC was
ensuring the transparency of the mining contract review process,
citing as an example the recently published Terms of Reference for
the contract renegotiations. He stated that all companies, without
regard to nationality, would be treated fairly. Completion of all
negotiations remains scheduled for September 30. Although the
nine-member panel originally charged with overseeing the contract
review process remains ostensibly in place, Kabwelulu stated that
many of the Ministerial members were otherwise occupied and that the
Prime Minister had tasked him with lead responsibility for the
contract renegotiations. (Comment: Kabwelulu met later on September
3 with representatives of the mining companies to discuss in more
detail the renegotiation process. Neither OM Group nor a
representative for the JV participated in the meeting. Post will
report on the meeting septel. End Comment.)

3. (SBU) While Kabwelulu was clearly very familiar with U.S.
investor Freeport-McMoRan, he stated he was unaware of any American
investors in the OM Group joint venture. When emboffs explained
OM's relationship with Georges Forrest, however, acknowledged OM's
existence, and stated he thought it was a Belgian entity (not
surprising as Forrest is Belgian). DCM left a copy of the points as
a non-paper for the Minister.

4. (SBU) Comment: Given the logistical constraints on travel
within the DRC, Post has not yet been able to visit OM Group's
project site in Lubumbashi, but will plan a visit as soon as
possible in coordination with company representatives. In addition,
Post will continue to closely monitor the contract renegotiation
process, with a focus on ensuring a transparent process and fair
treatment for U.S. investors. While the publication of the Terms of
Reference and Kabwelulu's willingness to discuss the process in an
open forum with investors is a positive step, the process for the
renegotiation of the contacts remains murky. End Comment.

GARVELINK

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