June 12, 2008 / 11:24 AM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Congo to start mines renegotiations in mid-July

(Adds details, background)

KINSHASA, June 12 (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo will begin renegotiating some 60 mining contracts in mid-July as part of a long-delayed review process, the central African nation’s deputy mines minister said on Thursday.

“We plan to start the renegotiation process in mid-July. And we hope it will go faster. Everyone wants to finish this,” Victor Kasongo told Reuters. The renegotiations would be carried out by a mines review “task force” of senior ministers.

President Joseph Kabila’s government launched a review last year of 61 mining contracts, many signed during the country’s 1998-2003 war.

A government mines review panel released a report in March recommending the renegotiation of a string of major mining contracts in the vast former Belgian colony.

This included contracts between state mining companies and mining majors BHP Billiton BLT.L, Freeport McRoRan Copper & Gold Inc (FCX.N) and diamond giant De Beers. (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: africa.reuters.com/) (Reporting by Joe Bavier; Editing by Pascal Fletcher)

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