Landmark Chinese copper deal with Afghanistan at risk
KABUL (REUTERS) - A consortium of Chinese investors has demanded a review of a landmark US$3 billion (S$3.84 billion) deal to produce copper in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Mines said on Monday, putting at risk one of Kabul's greatest hopes for economic independence.
It said China Metallurgical Group (MCC) and Jiangxi Copper want new terms that would cut their royalties to the government, release them from building a power plant and copper smelter, and postpone the laying of a railway.
"The Afghan government is trying its best ... to negotiate with the company but contract conditions are clear and previously both sides have agreed about it," a spokesman for the ministry said.
An independent anti-corruption monitor, Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA), said the Chinese venture also wanted to delay the start of production by five years to 2019.