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Mbuji-Mayi (əmbo͞oˈjē-mīˈyē), formerly Bakwanga (bäkwängˈgä), city (1984 pop. 486,235), capital of Kasai-Oriental prov., S central Congo (Kinshasa), on the Sankuru River. A commercial center in Luba country, it handles most of the industrial diamonds produced in the Congo. After the Congo attained independence (1960) the city's population grew rapidly with the immigration of Luba people from other parts of the country. From 1960 to 1962 it was the capital of the secessionist Mining State of South Kasai.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



until 1966, the name of the city of Mbuji-Mayi in the Republic of Zaire.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Since 2007, following the collapse of the MIBA (Societe miniere de Bakwanga)-a state-owned diamond company and the former main state employer in Eastern Kasai--and with the mining boom in South Katanga since the early 2000s, many Kasaians have returned to the mining cities in South Katanga, particularly Kolwezi, where most of the mining sector re-launch has taken place.
After the severe downgrading of the DRC's main revenue earner, the giant Gecamines parastatal, (output of copper dropped from half a million tons in the mid-80s to only 30,000 tons last year), Miniere de Bakwanga (MIBA), the company's diamond-producing arm and the last profitable mining operation in the country is now in trouble.
In the capital of Eastern Kasai, Mbuji-Mayi, Congolese wildcat diggers are furious because they face the competition of armed Zimbabwean soldiers who mine gems even inside the concessions of the Miniere de Bakwanga company.
A longstanding agreement which had guaranteed De Beers a monopoly on the purchase of diamonds produced by the Miniere de Bakwanga (MIBA), was abruptly cancelled.
The marketing agreement with Zaire's main company, the Miniere de Bakwanga (MIBA) has been renewed, but in 1994, MIBA's output amounted to 4.8m carats as against 9.5m in 1990.
$53m were produced by the Miniere de Bakwanga alone.