The Democratic Republic of Congo, is considering phasing out a ban on mining in three eastern provinces that was aimed at halting illegal trade, Bloomberg reported. “Mines could be reopened quickly,” Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu told a mining conference in Cape Town today. “We would like to avoid a situation where people exploit those minerals too quickly” and flood the market, he said.

Congolese President Joseph Kabila suspended most mining in the North Kivu, South Kivu and Maniema provinces on 9 September, saying the measure was necessary to wrest control of the trade from “mafia groups.” The three provinces accounted for around 85% of the country’s tin production before the ban.

In a separate report, a Congolese mineral dealer told Dow Jones Newswires that the ban has made it more difficult and expensive for mineral traders to access minerals, making the business more costly. "It is now the armed people who are thriving" he said, adding that most civilian dealers and miners are now facing a financial squeeze, which is threatening their livelihood. Artisanal mining is the mainstay of Eastern Congo.