"Investors are shy when it comes to the DRC, but we already have great mines in the country, with Kamoa-Kakula, Glencore, Tenke Fungurume, Kibali, Sicomines, Alphamin and others."
What is the message that the DRC is trying to pass on to the mining community through the presence of president Félix Tshisekedi at Mining Indaba?
The head of state of the Democratic Republic of the Congo brought a strong message to the Indaba conference in Cape Town in terms of the investment opportunities in the DRC. We are a rich country with abundant critical minerals that are needed for the future. The President asked all potential investors to come to the country and work together with us because, no matter what our potential may be, if we do not get to know the real content of our resources, that has no economic value. So, we would like investors to come and work together with us in the exploration, exploitation and transformation of our mineral resources.
The President also asked potential investors to think of the Congolese population, to implement good governance standards, to make sure we protect the environment, and to commit to improve the life conditions of the local communities directly impacted by the mining operations. Finally, he also sent a message of peace: it is important that any mining company that comes to work in the DRC can work in a safe and peaceful environment. Unfortunately, today the DRC is at war. It is a minerals war that our neighboring country, Rwanda, imposed on us with the M23. Our goal is to sign win-win partnerships in a peaceful environment, because there is no need to kill human lives to exploit resources that belong to our country. The country is open to investors and to all sorts of dialogue so we can achieve peace.
Do you think the success of Kamoa-Kakula will act as a magnet to bring new mining investors to the DRC?
Kamoa-Kakula is a very large mine that is going to start refining copper and producing high-quality cathodes. This is going to have a very positive impact on our economy. We would like other investors to emulate Kamoa-Kakula, to come to the DRC with a calm, peaceful approach, and they will be able to move forward and commission new mines, just like Kamoa-Kakula has done.
The truth is, investors sometimes get lost going left and right when they come into the DRC. We have a mining legislation in place, and the first step for them to start activities in the country is to set up a local commercial entity according to Congolese law. After that, they need to make the request to the mining cadaster to obtain their claims. The DRC guarantees investor security with the incentives sanctioned by both the investment code and the mining code.
What is the potential of the DRC for critical metals needed for the global energy transition?
Internationally, our potential for critical metals is well known: We are the world’s largest producer of cobalt and fourth largest producer of copper. We will soon become a large producer of lithium and other minerals like nickel, coltan, and monazite, just to mention a few. Countries like the US and European countries are implementing programs to secure their supplies of energy minerals, and this is an area where the DRC can play a key role. The world needs copper and cobalt to move forward with the energy transition and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. So, the DRC turns out to be the hub of the energy transition because of the presence of all these strategic metals in our country. We are in full operation to discover new strategic metal deposits.
How can the mining industry act as a catalyst of human resource development in the DRC?
The mining sector is the main driver of the Congolese economy. We want a circular economy that first develops its human resources by training them in the use of the new technologies necessary for the growth of our industry. This includes the extraction, production, treatment, transformation and marketing of finished products. We want to add value to our mining products by processing minerals locally.
Would you like to send a final message to GBR’s global audience?
Investors are shy when it comes to the DRC, but we already have great mines in the country, with Kamoa-Kakula, Glencore, Tenke Fungurume, Kibali, Sicomines, Alphamin and others. The country has only exploited 8.05% of its potential, so we have around 91% to be discovered.