New York Times

Miniere Holders Score Stock Plan - NY Times Jan. 30, 1967 - Assail Move by Rothschild Cousins to Acquire Stake in Congo Copper Unit

ID: 196701292267

Brussels, Jan. 29 - Union Miniere du Haut-Katanga reacted strongly today to reports that the Belgian associate of the House of Rothschild was preparing to enter the Congolese copper dispute.
Nearly a month ago the assets of Union Miniere were seized and placed in a Congolese Government-controlled company. Congolese President Joseph Mobutu offered 40 per cent of the shares to foreign investors.
Informed sources in Brussels reported last Friday that the 40 per cent would be taken up by a consortium organized by Banque Lambert and including the Penarroya Company of France, metal fabricators, and the Newmont Mining Corporation of the United States.
Banque Lambert, Belgium's fourth largest bank, is controlled by cousins of the Paris branch of the Rothschild banking family. Penarroya is controlled by the Paris Rothschild's. Newmont Mining has links with Lazard Freres, the Wall Street investment bankers.
Statement From Holders
Today's statement was issued by Societe Generale de Belgique, Tanganyika Concessions, Ltd., and the Comagnie Financiere du Katanga, which together own about one-third of the shares of Union Miniere.
The statement said that any persons who acquired a participation in the Congolese Government company "would associate themselves with an act of confiscation."
The three companies went on to say that they were determined "to defend in cooperation with Union Miniere itself their rights and the interests."
Societe Gerale is a giant holding comany, which among other things, owns the biggest bank in Belgium, Comagnie Financiere is a Societe Genrale associate. Tanganyika Concessions is a British company with diverse African interests.
Business Community Shaken
The new developement has shaken the Brussels business community and put the Belgian Government in an extremely delicate position.
The Foreign Ministry, declaring the seizure illegal, had said it would take steps to protect Union Miniere stockholders.
There was some speculation tonight that the new consortium would not go ahead with its plan.
Union Miniere, which has been mining copper in Katanga province for 60 years, has placed a value of $800 million on its seized assets. It has received no compensation.
Settlement Is Sought
The Belgian Foreign Ministry has been trying to bring about a settlement between Union Miniere and General Mobutu.
Meanwhile, union Miniere has been waging commercial war against the Congo.
Taking the position that it is still the legal owner of copper produced in Katanga, it has threatened legal action against any buyers from the Congolese Government's company.
For the last month, the Congo has been earning nothing from copper sales. Earlier it had been getting 70 per cent of its foreign exchange and 50 per cent of its budgetary receipts from the operations of Union Miniere.
The Belgian company had counted on financial pressure bringing about a settlement that would permit it at least to continue marketing the copper.

Land: COD