Ivanhoe Mines’ Louis Watum says “this is the best time for mines to invest and seek operational efficiencies to remain competitive”
“Now that commodities prices are low, it should be recalled that there will always be mining cycles, resulting in highs and lows, and that now is the time to invest and to look for ways to improve our respective operational efficiencies in order to stay competitive.” This is according to Mr. Louis Watum, Managing Director, Ivanhoe Mines DRC, this year’s diamond sponsors for both the iPAD Mining and Infrastructure Indaba in Kinshasa from 15-16 October and the Katanga Mining Week in Lubumbashi from 20-21 October.
Mr Watum says his message at the leading October mining events will furthermore be that “the State in turn needs to take an honest look at the current bearish commodity market and adjust its fiscal expectations from the mining industry. Each party in the trilogy between the State, mining operators and civil society must play its own role. Lastly, I remain convinced that developing profitable mining projects remains a singularly important way to propel our country into the realm of emerging economies.”
October is iPAD month in the DRC
Now in its 11th year, the iPAD DRC conference and exhibition has become an integral part of the development of the industrialisation and reconstruction of the country, gathering key government and industry stakeholders.
The sixth edition of Katanga Mining Week will also see DRC’s mining community, global partners, investors and suppliers meet up in Lubumbashi to focus on the local challenges of the province as the hub of copper and cobalt mining in the DRC as well as the role of the mining industry in social development responsibilities. The event also offers an exciting expo with the latest mining technology, free workshops for mine personnel and a high-level conference track.
Mining at Kamoa to start in 2018
Ivanhoe Mines DRC are in the initial stages of building a large, modern copper mine at Kamoa, close to Kolwezi. The company says the Kamoa copper deposit, one of the largest ever exploited in the world, contains 739 million tonnes of ore at 2.67% Cu (measured resources) and 227 million tonnes of ore at 1.96% (inferred resources), with a cut-off grade of 1% Cu.
“The Kamoa mine will be developed in phases”, says Mr Watum, “the first phase will consist of a conventional underground copper mine and surface concentrator complex with an initial mining rate and concentrator capacity of three million tonnes per year. The first phase of mining would target high-grade copper mineralization from shallow, underground resources to yield a high-value concentrate. In the second phase this modern, mechanised, underground mine will be expanded to eight million tonnes per year in concentrator capacity.”
He says that mining operations at Kamoa should begin at the end of 2018 adding that “a smelter is planned with a capacity of 300,000 tonnes of copper/year, which is equivalent to one third of the copper produced by all mining companies in the DRC.”
Challenges to DRC mining sector
According to the Ivanhoe Mines DRC Managing Director the main challenges facing the country’s mining sector include:
– The current review of the DRC Mining Code: “It is important that the Congolese State, in its review of mining contracts, guarantee both the stability of benefits offered to investors, in addition to adequate tax incentives and transparency in their application, which will have the effect of attracting the much needed large investments to develop the country.”
– The current deficit of electricity available for mining projects: “Since the current energy deficit is enormous in the DRC, it is important that we collectively look beyond the current short‑term arrangements to rehabilitate existing infrastructures or buy electricity from neighbouring countries, and that we truly commit to creating new energy production infrastructures.”
– The poor and insufficient basic infrastructure: “It is crucial that the Congolese State pay particular attention to this issue and mobilise the resources necessary to develop adequate infrastructures.”
– Artisanal mining challenge: “Whilst the Congolese State is allowing some areas to be exploited by artisanal miners in an attempt to try and reduce unemployment and community distress, the negative impacts of these activities and the risk of sterilization of vast areas with high mineralogical potential, should encourage all parties of the mining sector, in addition to the Congolese State and civil society, to look for alternative solutions in order to create employment and business opportunities in lieu of forfeiting long term potential grow of the economy.”
– The “enigmatic trilogy” of the State/Government, mining companies/investors and civil society/local populations: “These three parties are often stuck in fruitless talks, since their respective expectations don’t seem to be addressed. It is essential that each party clearly understands and play its own role in the first place.”
– The 2015-2016 electoral timetable and “its associated measures, as well as the splitting of provinces into new ones: the available information still lacks clarity.”
– Lack of security in some areas “due to the presence of uncontrolled armed elements”.
iPAD DRC Mining and Infrastructure Indaba and Katanga Mining Week are organised by Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK.
iPAD DRC Mining and Infrastructure Indaba dates and location:
Conference and exhibition: 15-16 October 2015
Industry Awards: 15 October 2015
Location: Fleuve Congo Hotel, 119 Boulevard Tshatshi, Kinshasa Gombe, DRC
Katanga Mining Week dates and location:
Power focus day: 19 October 2015
Conference and exhibition: 20-21 October 2015
Site visits: 22 October 2015
Location: Grand Karavia Hotel, Lubumbashi, DRC
Communications manager: Annemarie Roodbol
Telephone: +27 21 700 3558
Mobile: +27 82 562 7844