Congo Looks to Lure More Investment to Tap Green Metals Deposits
(Bloomberg) -- The Democratic Republic of Congo is working on ways to entice more investment into its mines as the green revolution boosts demand for metals used in sectors like rechargeable batteries.
The world’s largest producer of cobalt and Africa’s top copper miner is looking to tap more of its deposits, develop downstream operations and formalize artisanal mines to eliminate abusive labor practices, Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde said Thursday during the Financial Times Mining Summit.
While some of the biggest miners are moving into or expanding in commodities tied to more environmentally friendly industries, risky jurisdictions can deter investment. The DRC’s new government plans to make infrastructure improvements and tax changes to lure more companies after years of war and corruption kept many Western investors out, while also ensuring that enough of the mineral windfall benefits the local population.
Still, the government is reviewing mining contracts to ensure they adhere to 2018 changes in the code, the prime minister said. Authorities are in talks with the Chinese owners of the Sicomines copper and cobalt joint venture over infrastructure spending “adjustments,” he said.
Also speaking at the FT conference:
- Trafigura Group Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Weir said the trading giant would invest more in the DRC “with the right parameters.”
- Glencore Plc already has plans to expand its presence there, said Nick Popovic, co-head of zinc and copper marketing.
- Robert Friedland, whose Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. is ramping up a new mine in the DRC, said it has the potential to become the world’s top copper producer, overtaking Chile.
- BHP Group CEO Mike Henry said he’d consider operating in more difficult countries if the assets involved were attractive enough.
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