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KINSHASA, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Local authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo province of Katanga have blocked exports by mining companies they believe have not supported local agriculture projects, an official told Reuters on Tuesday.
“Sixteen companies have been banned,” Barthelemy Mumba Gama, provincial agricultural minister, told Reuters by telephone of a ban on exports from a region rich in copper and cobalt.
He cited Kamoto Copper Company (KCC), a joint venture between Toronto-listed Katanga Mining (KAT.TO) and the Congolese state, as one company affected by the ban. KCC, in which Katanga Mining has a 75 percent stake, runs the Kamoto copper and cobalt project near the town of Kolwezi.
Others affected by the export ban included CMSK (Compagnie Miniere du Sud Katanga) and Kota Mining, he said.
“The provincial government decided on a farming policy involving mining companies in agricultural production,” Mumba Gama said, adding that the local governor had stipulated a need to farm 500 hectares (1,236 acres) of maize.
“Some of them did it really well ... some of them did nothing at all,” he added.
It was not immediately clear how long the ban would remain in place but Mumba Gama said a company could have the ban lifted by clearing 500 hectares for local farmers or by offering equivalent funds or resources.
A spokeswoman for Freeport McMoRan’s (FCX.N) Tenke Fungurume Mining said it was not among those hit by the ban.