1) Welcome back to iPAD and DRC Mining Week. What would you consider highlights for EY in the DRC during 2015?
At EY, we are committed to building a better working world — with increased trust and confidence in business, sustainable growth, development of talent in all its forms, and greater collaboration.
In 2015, in line with our global vision and the aim to create a truly differentiated client experience by providing Exceptional Client Service we have continued to invest in high performing teams and increased our presence to meet the demands of our clients in DRC.
2) Do you have exciting plans/projects in the offing for 2016?
At EY, we endeavour to deliver exceptional client service across our four service lines – Assurance, Tax, Advisory and Transaction Advisory Services. We launched a 5-year investment plan in DRC back in 2013, which we will continue to fine-tune and implement. This will allow us to further strengthen our presence and positioning in DRC, so as to support our clients and partners in executing their projects.
3) What are the main challenges to the mining sector in the DRC and region currently in your view?
Mining in DRC, and in particular this region, has had a direct impact on the economic structure of the country. The current trends in the price of metals, especially copper prices which have continued to decline to a six year low and impacted negatively on the margins of mining operators, has increased the need to optimize cash and implement cost reduction initiatives to preserve margins.
In addition, as already noted in prior years the limitations in access to reliable power supply are still challenges for mining companies operating in DRC and the region. As it has previously been discussed in the past Mining Week conferences, DRC needs to focus on improving the access to power and a stable policy regime which the government is currently addressing.
4) You are a longstanding supporting of and speaker at the iPAD events in the DRC – how important are these events on the DRC mining calendar?
These events are very important in the mining calendar as they provide the various stakeholders (government, civil society, current and future investors and business partners) with a platform to network and to share ideas, challenges and latest developments in the mining sector, which is a key component and important contributor to the DRC economy.
5) What will be your message at this year’s DRC Mining Week?
With the current economic environment and uncertainties around the timing when metal prices are likely to pick up again, mining companies are particularly focused on margin and productivity improvements, as well as cost management. The sector also faces the increased challenges of maintaining its social license to operate, balancing its talent requirements, effectively managing its capital projects and engaging with government around revenue expectations.
EY assists mining companies in meeting the today’s issues, as well as in anticipating those of tomorrow, by developing solutions to meet these challenges. EY brings together a global team of professionals to help them succeed — a team with deep technical experience in providing assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services to the mining and metals industry.
6) How excited are you about the one, merged event in Lubumbashi?
We are very excited, what better place to host a mining event than in the Haut Katanga, which has a huge geological mining potential. We hope that the Lubumbashi event will be hugely successful, and that it will become one of the significant landmark mining events happening around the globe. This will showcase what the Haut Katanga has to offer.
7) Anything you would like to add?
We are very pleased and excited to have the opportunity to partner once again with the DRC Mining Week and DRC Mining Awards.