"The DRC is just too important a jurisdiction from a resource volume and grade quality perspective for any serious player in the global mining sector to ignore"
Exclusive interview with Peter von Klemperer, the Head of Mining and Metals at the Standard Bank Group, the Diamond Plus sponsor at the 2019 DRC Mining Week from 19-21 June in Lubumbashi.
Why has Standard Bank chosen to partner with DRC Mining Week again in 2019? What was the bank’s experience in 2018, and what is the bank planning for 2019?
Mining is an extremely important sector for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Standard Bank supports a large number of resources clients in the mining sector in the DRC. DRC Mining Week provides Standard Bank with an important platform to engage with clients and key stakeholders in the DRC’s resources sector.
Can we talk about Standard Bank’s activities in the DRC? There is a proud history there.
Standard Bank has been involved in the DRC for over 20 years, funding operations and managing banking for a range of clients, from established developed-world players to newer Chinese clients. Standard Bank has developed a broad client ecosystem in the DRC, including both mining and resources players as well as the wider services, supplier and support industries associated with the country’s diverse and rich resource endowment. Beyond Standard Bank’s developed resources sector expertise, the bank's presence and capability in the country plays a critical role in supporting all our clients' effects, their day-to-day banking and transaction needs on the ground in the DRC. Combined with Standard Bank’s global presence and capability, this is especially significant for large foreign investors as Standard Bank is also equipped to manage their daily transaction flow in the DRC from anywhere in the world.
Are there any mining projects that your organisation is involved with that you are particularly excited about?
The DRC is blessed with large volumes of high-quality grades across a range of strategically and commercially important resources. Standard Bank remains excited about the opportunities and prospects offered by this important mining investment destination and key global resources supplier.
What are the main challenges facing Africa’s mining sector? And the DRC in particular?
The mining sector in the DRC faces the same challenges as the sector globally, namely; cost containment pressures in a volatile commodity price market. Policy clarity, certainty and predictability are also a challenge for the industry the world over. Those destinations able to provide long-term policy predictability and efficient implementation have been more successful at sustaining and growing capital investment over time.
What is your message to prospective investors about the opportunities in the DRC mining sector?
The DRC is just too important a jurisdiction from a resource volume and grade quality perspective for any serious player in the global mining sector to ignore.
What is your vision for the sector?
Through the consistent application of clear and rational mining policy, the DRC has the potential to become the world’s largest copper producer. This would be a game changer for the economy, placing the DRC in a position to transform into a middle-income country by 2050.
How important is Lubumbashi as a mining hub for the sector, providing an example for the rest of the country?
Lubumbashi has the great advantage of being; close to the DRC’s main copper assets, close to the border enabling ease of export, as well as being located on a major regional water way. Much of Lubumbashi’s strategic importance derives from its geographic position as gateway to the DRC’s copper belt and hub of the DRC’s global copper production and export industry. Lubumbashi demonstrates the importance of supporting global connectivity that enables exports through regionally-integrated infrastructure linking strategic assets to global markets.
What are you most looking forward to at DRC Mining Week? How important is the forum on the global mining calendar?
DRC Mining Week is an important platform for Standard Bank to engage with both existing and potentially, new clients. The conference is important from a global perspective as it also brings policy makers together with investors which remains key in unlocking the DRC’s full resources potential.
What will Standard Bank’s message be at the event in 2019?
From an investment funding perspective Standard Bank combines global capital reach and world-leading structuring expertise with a developed African balance sheet leveraged by a strong local presence, deep experience and insight, and developed capability within the DRC. The unique universal banking ecosystem that Standard Bank has developed on the ground in the DRC also positions Standard Bank’s Transactional Products and Services and Global Markets teams to support client’s operational business inside the country. This dual global and local capability unites global financial access with on-the-ground execution in a capital-importing sector dependant for earnings upon efficient local production and global export.