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DRC / COPPERBELT SUPPLEMENT
GECAMINES PUTTING ITS HOUSE IN ORDER
The DRC has fantastic mining potential, and as
government clarifies and advances its mining code,
and infrastructure development continues many more
opportunities for miners – both local and foreign – will
ecamines is the Democratic Republic of Congo’s
state-owned mining company, which holds various
stakes in a number of companies and has its own
operations across the vast country.
Gecamines, however, has had its fair share of problems
and at the beginning of October its chairman Albert
Yuma confirmed that the company would continue with
its restructuring, including the formation of an offshore
subsidiary. This unit would hold stakes in resources businesses in
the DRC but would be free of Gecamines’ crippling debt,
which Bloomberg News puts at about US$1 billion.
President Joseph Kabila of the DRC.
We want to spin off Gecamines’ minority stakes in joint
ventures, creating a new offshore company, Yuma is
reported to have said by the news agency. The report said
that royalties and dividends from these interests would be
channeled through the new offshore company.
The DRC, which is the size of Western Europe, holds
great resource riches – copper, cobalt, gold and diamonds
being the most abundant. It is the world’s 8 th biggest
copper producer, and the largest producer of cobalt, a
metal which is used in rechargeable batteries. It also has
reserves of coltan used in cell phones. It is estimated to
hold 10% of the world’s copper and 50% of its cobalt.
Gecamines was set up in 1966, six years after Congo
gained independence from Belgium.
According to Bloomberg, Yuma said the company wanted
to progress with its “Deziwa and Ecaille C copper projects.
It also planned to combine its CMSK and Kalumines
project.” The Katanga copper belt runs 250km from Lubumbashi in
the DRC to Kolwezi.
In January it was reported that Gecamines said it wanted
to build a US$1.5 billion copper plant to process ore from
16 MINING REVIEW AFRICA ISSUE 11 2013