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DRC / COPPERBELT SUPPLEMENT GECAMINES PUTTING ITS HOUSE IN ORDER In short: 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 arise. G 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 two mines. 16 MINING REVIEW AFRICA ISSUE 11 2013