First Quantum pulls out of Congo

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The Independent Online

London-listed First Quantum Minerals has pulled nearly all its expat worers out of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after the government seized its Frontier copper mine.

Only a handful of First Quantum's 30-strong expats remain at the mine on the Zambian border. The company suspended production after Kinshasa seized the mine on 27 August, and has been pulling out the expats over the past week.

Vancouver-based First Quantum is already in international arbitration with the DRC, which took control of its Kolwezi mine last year and has since alleged financial fraud. The DRC has sold on a majority stake in Kolwezi to the FTSE-100 group ENRC.

The First Quantum board will meet this month to decide whether to sue the DRC and ENRC, which believes legal action can only be between the government and First Quantum.

First Quantum's president, Clive Newall, has said that he is willing to meet DRC officials to resolve the troubles. "If the government wants to talk, we are willing to talk at any time."