Tin concentrate exports from the Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo are expected to resume this week, after two months’ delay due to a dispute over new taxes. However mine production in the area may now be affected by a new outbreak of fighting between government and rebel troops which began late last week.

“Most probably we’ll be starting exportation today,” John Kanyoni, president of the Association of Traders of Minerals of North Kivu, told Bloomberg. Under a new tax regime agreed by ministers on August 22, tin concentrate will now be taxed at 5% of the LME price less assumed treatment and transport costs of some $1,400/tonne. However the system of notifying exporters of the reference LME price, based on the average for the previous week, has only just come into effect.

The two provinces of North and South Kivu are believed to account for up to 80% of DR Congo’s tin production, which ITRI estimates was 12,800 tonnes in 2007. Some 2,500 tonnes of concentrates was reported to have been stockpiled by exporters during the course of the dispute with the tax authorities.

Meanwhile Reuters has reported renewed hostilities between government forces and one of the main rebel groups. Mortar fire erupted between rebels loyal to renegade Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda and government soldiers in North Kivu province on Thursday morning, Congo’s United Nations peacekeeping mission said. The clashes were among the worst outbreaks of direct fighting between the rebels and the army since Congo signed a peace deal with more than a dozen armed groups in North and South Kivu provinces in January.