For some it is old news, but mining is ongoing. Is a huge country.
The DRC is endowed with vast potential natural mineral resources including cobalt, copper, cadmium, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, germanium, uranium, radium, bauxite, iron ore and coal. The DRC is the world’s largest producer of cobalt and naturally occurring industrial diamonds accounting for 41.6% and 30.7% respectively of total global output.
It is also the seventh largest producer of gem diamonds (5.7%) and a major producer of copper (1.5%). Within Africa in 2008 it was the leading producer of tin (65.4%), is ranked second for copper (23.1%) and tungsten (26%), third for silver (10.2%) and coltan metals (11.9%), fifth for zinc (3.07%) and equal sixth for gold (2.18%). In 2007 the DRC was estimated to have over 48% of the world’s cobalt and about 26% of the industrial diamond reserves. Diamond production, which is totally artisanal, increased by an estimated 17.4% in 2008. During the same period production of cobalt increased by an estimated 20.8%, copper increased by 54.7% and tin increased by 32.6% whereas silver output halved. Gem and industrial-grade diamond sales were around US$875 million in 2008 accounting for about 10% of D.R.C.’s export revenue.
The Copperbelt area (estimated to contain 55.5m tonnes of copper and 3.6m tonnes of cobalt), which runs through Katanga contains 34% of the world’s cobalt resources and 10% of the world’s copper resources, and during the 1960s and 1970s the DRC was the world’s leading producer of these metals. Copper concessions were formerly managed by Générale des Carriers et des Mines (Gécamines), the state owned parastatal mining company.
Since the 1990s the facilities of the Gécamines (currently managed by SOFRECO) have seriously deteriorated, and production in Katanga stagnated with total capacity utilisation estimated at less than 10%, and an alleged external debt of US$2.5 billion. However, Katanga is currently witnessing something of a renaissance with several industrial mines already in production (e.g. Anvil Mining, First Quantum Minerals, Metorex, Forrest, et cetera.) and some massive new plant facilities are in the construction phase (e.g. Katanga Mining, CAMEC, Nikanor’s DCP, Freeport McMoran’s famous Tenke Fungurume Mine) Investment is really booming and the Cadastre Minier has recorded data for 792 granted concessions in Katanga – 70 new ones in the last six months alone, and there are currently 207 mining companies established in Katanga.
read more here:
Chinese in DRC
Chinese investors are particularly dominant in the DRC’s copper and cobalt-rich Haut Katanga and Lualaba areas of former Katanga province, he said, with investors including China Molybdenum’s Tenke Fugurume, and Minerals and Metals Group MMG.
Other investors active in mining in the DRC include global traders Glencore and Trafigura and Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines and Barrick Gold Corporation.
Africa’s copperbelt contains two-thirds of the entire world’s cobalt, a mineral required for the production of cell phones, laptops, and most importantly, electric automobiles. Produced with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.