Democratic Republic of Congo will lift the mining ban which it imposed on its eastern provinces last September to cut off funding to armed groups on 10 March, Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu told Reuters. The six month ban on mining activities and exports by President Kabila applied to North Kivu, South Kivu and Maniema, areas rich in gold, tin and coltan. The three provinces typically account for some 85% of the country’s tin production.

Since the ban began, Congo’s military has removed illegal armed groups from “many” mining sites and the government is now working with domestic and international partners to develop ways of tracing the supply chain of its minerals, Kabwelulu said earlier at a conference in Kinshasa on 25 February. However a local research institute pointed out the harmful impact of the restriction. “The ban has made the two million families that depend on mining poorer and reduced consumption in the region because of less money in circulation.” Aloys Tegera, a director at the Pole Institute, a European Union-funded research group, said in an interview with Bloomberg news in Goma, North Kivu’s capital.