Engineering & Mining Journal

JUL 2018

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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DRC UPDATE JULY 2018 • E&MJ 59 ing unrest in many parts of the country. It does now appear that voting will take place in December. In the meantime, there was a need for better long-term planning in marketing the country's minerals. Julienne noted that a dozen or so gold refineries were operating in neighboring countries such as Uganda and Rwanda — both of which produced little gold of their own. "There is a risk that gold will leave the DRC and return in the form of guns," Ju- llienne said. "It is important that refining and marketing be done here, rather than leave it to others to do elsewhere." By his calculation, up to $2 billion in gold was being processed in neighboring countries, Julienne said. Consultations with government had borne fruit, howev- er, and financing for a DRC refinery had been secured. "Minerals sourced here should also be refined here," Julienne added. "If cus- tomers want DRC products then this is where they need to come to find them." Richard Mangez, governor of neigh- boring Lualaba province, that contains much of the DRC's cobalt resources, told the KBM that more would be done to en- courage local production and refining. "This is the global capital of cobalt, but there's no electricity, no clinics or even running water — all this amidst a boom in cobalt production." Mining companies are going to find themselves under pressure to show mean- ingful social investment. Even the KBM itself partnered with a local nongovern- mental organization (NGO), the Malaika School for girls. The institution was es- tablished by Noella Coursaris Musunka, an ambassador for The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The school has around 280 children from ages about 6-12 and serves as a haven for girls who would otherwise have to fend largely for themselves during the daylight hours while parents struggle to make ends meet. "At least they are safe here," Musun- ka said. "They have food, clothes and a place to be during the day." Musunka herself was born just north of Lubum- bashi but raised in Belgium after she was given to relatives following the death of her father. Musunka was only able to return as an adult and seeing the poverty of the area, resolved to open the school. "My mother couldn't keep me so sent me away. I did not see her again until I was an adult. And I saw the conditions people were living in." The school has now attracted the at- tention of education authorities from the DRC as well as other African countries. As a model, it serves as a template for schooling in areas where few opportuni- ties exist. Costas Coursaris, the KBM convener, noted that the event was ultimately suc- cessful in bringing together investors and government officials. The DRC he said presented numerous hazards ranging from political risk to corruption. Howev- er, as numerous mining companies had already discovered, the rewards of taking the plunge were ample. "Many companies take the risks into account and are successful anyway. It's a complicated country, but with a long-term vision it will pay off."

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