The Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa’s biggest tin producer, has suspended flights in the east of the country on a route used by most of the nation’s exporters of the metal, according to Bloomberg News.

Flights between Goma, capital of North Kivu province, and Walikale, 100 kilometers to the west, have been suspended for “security inspections”, local traders reported today. Most of the tin ore produced in North Kivu is routed from Walikale to Goma, before being exported to smelters around the world via neighbouring countries.

In mid-April tin ore exports were halted by the Congo government, but resumed in early May after new export licences were issued to 11 companies by the Minister of Mines. North Kivu exported 452 tonnes of tin ore in April before the temporary ban, according to government figures. Similar restrictions have also been imposed on shipments of other metals and minerals in recent months.

The ministry has also announced that it will shortly start reviewing all mining leases awarded prior to the election of the current government – the first to be democratically elected in four decades. The initial focus will be on a number of major copper projects.

ITRI estimates that tin-in-concentrate production in DR Congo has been some 7,000 – 8,000 tpy in recent years.