Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Peter Lee, "China's copper deal back in the melt," Asia Times, June 12, 2009.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the People's Republic of China do not make for an easy fit. The most conspicuous clash between the IMF and China is going on today in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with copper the big issue at stake.

In 2007, as Congo emerged from civil war, a Chinese consortium concluded a US$9 billion agreement with the government. The Chinese investors would develop mines and infrastructure - including $3 billion in projects over the next four years - and obtain the right to mine 10 million tonnes of copper and 600,000 tonnes of cobalt in return (quantities that are undoubtedly subject to adjustment based on changes in market price for these commodities).

The IMF is working to obstruct it.

  Nkunda included examination of the Chinese deal (but not of a contract involving a copper project by Freeport MacMoRan of the United States) as one of the eight demands he made to the UN special envoy last year, when his insurrection was at its height.

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