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Mining secretary general: Solutions for DRC mining sector to deal with low prices

Ngoy was speaking to delegates on behalf of the DRC mining minister Martin Kabwelu who was unable to attend the annual DRC Mining Week event conference and exhibition being held in Lubumbashi, DRC.

His presentation, entitled, “The drop of commodities prices: how do we overcome this challenge?” offered some insightful information on a way forward for the country and its mining sector.

Ngoy noted the impact the decrease in the price of minerals has not gone unnoticed by government which has also seen a decrease in revenue collection from the sector as prices remain low.

A way out for the DRC mining industry

Ngoy suggested that the DRC mining operators diversify their production profiles to include other minerals in addition to copper. Outside of gold and tin (cassiterite) opportunities, he noted the country’s potential for rare earths as the demand for green, hybrid energy systems and the advancement of the digital revolution continues to escalate.

[quote]He also told delegates during his presentation that mining companies need to “transform” their copper and produce “semi-finished” products rather than simply exporting it.

Further to this he believes that Africa’s major copper producers – South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Zambia should work together to establish a large-scale copper refinery for beneficiation empowerment.

A way out for the DRC

From a state perspective, Ngoy said the government should look to diversify its revenue base outside of mining and into agriculture for example.

He did however state government’s intention to help establish small mining companies which would create between 500 000 and one million jobs.

This could be successful in the eastern part of the DRC where locals are already undertaking most exploration activity. “By formalising this informal sector we could create a new revenue income.”

“The decrease in the cost of minerals has exposed the DRC’s structural weakness in the mining sector – but we need to capitalise on investment opportunities which we can [and have] identified,” Ngoy concluded.