Although there have been moves towards a peace deal in eastern Congo in the last week, local traders say the slump in tin prices will continue to limit exports from the region. Following talks with UN envoy, Olusegun Obasanjo over the weekend, rebel leader Laurent Nkunda pulled back his troops from positions north of regional capital Goma on Wednesday. Yesterday the UN Security Council voted to send around 3,000 more peacekeeping forces to the area. However DRC President Joseph Kabila continues to refuse Nkunda’s demand for direct talks to resolve the conflict.
However local traders, or comptoirs, told Bloomberg that they may stop exporting because of the global market situation. “If the price doesn’t change soon, many will be forced to close,” John Kanyoni, the president of the Association of Mineral Exporters in North Kivu, said yesterday in an interview from Kigali, the capital of neighboring Rwanda. “It’s the security situation, but also mainly the tin price. Everyone is watching the London Metal Exchange.”
In Goma, North Kivu’s capital, the comptoirs have been restarting their operations over the last week after a rebel advance in October forced them to close, Kanyoni said. Traders in South Kivu face the same problems, Kanyoni said. Trading tin is “not worth it,” Antoine Rutero, a trader from Bukavu, South Kivu’s capital, said. “Costs are too high for us.”