The government of Africa's largest copper producer cut its 2016 budget by 22% last month in response to low metal prices and cutbacks by leading copper and cobalt producers. Congo depends on exports from its mines and smaller oil sector for some 95% of its export revenue. Mines in the former province of Katanga paid $45.8-million in royalties in the first six months of this year, compared to $70.8-million over the same period last year, the report said. Copper and cobalt output in the first quarter of 2016 both fell by about 20%, according to Congo's central bank. Congo also produces significant quantities of gold, diamonds and cassiterite, which have registered less dramatic production declines this year. Continuing weakness in commodity markets, driven mostly by feeble Chinese demand, has pressured Congo's franc currency and led the government last month to slash its annual growth estimate to 5.3% from an original estimate of 9%.
Source: Mining Weekly/Reuters