Lubumbashi, Congo (Kinshasa), June 19, 2019 --(PR.com
)-- The historic 15th edition of the annual DRC Mining Week starts on Wednesday 19 June in the mining hub of Lubumbashi.
More than 3500 international mining experts and local stakeholders from more than 50 countries are expected to attend this iconic exhibition and conference. Five country pavilions, from France, Germany, South Africa, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe, are part of the exhibition. The South African Department of Industry (dti) is the organiser of the South African pavilion which will comprise more than 35 South African companies who will display their specialised mining technology and services to what is regarded as an increasingly key market in the industry.
“The opportunities are huge”
“The DRC has been a very important market for South African manufacturers across the board, especially in the mining industry,” says Eric Bruggeman, CEO of the South African Capital Equipment Export Council (SACEEC) and part of the South African pavilion at DRC Mining Week, adding: “the country is the fourth largest producer of copper in the world and largest manufacturer of cobalt in the world with an average of 66-thousand metric tonnes per year, which means the opportunities in the mining and related sectors are huge.”
He continues: “The DRC’s GDP is U$41.6-billion, GDP growth for 2019 is standing at 4.1% which is fantastic. The major sectors and their GDP contribution are agriculture with 44%, industry 22% and services 33.1%. The mining sector alone contributes 25% of taxes received in the DRC. South Africa is the top importer into DRC with 21.4%, followed by China at 15%, Belgium 7% and Zambia 7%.”
Mr Bruggeman was part of an expert discussion panel last week during a well-attended webinar by the leading industry journal and portal, Mining Review Africa on the subject of “Investing in the DRC – what you need to know.”
“The revised Mining Code has created uncertainty”
Mr Louis Watum, MD for Operations for Ivanhoe Mines in the DRC and speaker at this week’s DRC Mining Week, was another guest during the discussion which also honed in on the impact of the new Mining Code on local operations and investments in the DRC’s mining industry. The revised legislation seeks to benefit all stakeholders in terms of social, environmental and economic upliftment. But it has also increased taxes and placed a high royalty rate on speciality minerals including cobalt and coltan as determined by government.
Said Mr Watum: “We have invested to date, together with our partner, Zijin Mining Group, close to U$850-million in the Kamoa Kakula project and an additional U$530-million in the Kipushi project – two exceptional mining projects in the DRC. In phased expansions Kakula is projected to become the second largest copper mine in the world. Excellent progress is also being made at Kipushi.”
With the regards to the impact of the new Mining Code, Mr Watum said: “Legal and fiscal stability have played probably the most significant role in the ever growing trust that the international investors have shown in the DRC by deploying investment capital in mining projects. However, the revised Mining Code, has created uncertainty of the regulatory framework and quite frankly, has made it very difficult to fund projects such as ours in the DRC. With a direct consequence of limiting the growth of the mining industry in the DRC and hampering the medium to long-term growth of the DRC as a country.”
“This is a time of historical opportunity”
Mr Watum: “Yes, we see Chinese investments keep flocking in, but overall one has to look at the cost of lost opportunities for those wish to invest but don’t because of the uncertainty about the regulatory framework. So we and other mining companies have established a forum to collectively engage as good corporate citizens with the various ministries of government regarding both the Mining Code as well as the means to achieve short-term and broader, long-term objectives. So collectively we’re serious in our determination to develop a strong partnership between international mining companies and the government of the DRC. Because we believe this is a time of historical opportunity for the responsible development of the mining sector in this country.”
The DRC Mining Week Grand Opening Ceremony, with high-level representatives from government and the industry, starts at 14h30 on Wednesday, 19 June, at The Pullman Grand Karavia Hotel.
DRC Mining Week:
Site visit: 18 June 2019
Pre-conference Power Focus Day: 19 June 2019
Expo and conference: 19-21 June 2019
Location: The Pullman Grand Karavia Hotel, Lubumbashi, DRC