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Engineers and scientists from SRK Consulting’s offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa were part of the DRC Mining Week, sharing information on trends and opportunities in one of Africa’s most important mining hubs.

SRK Consulting DRC country manager, Susa Maleba noted that the upbeat mood at the event, was driven by the global interest in cobalt and copper.

As a member of the DRC Mining Week conference panel to discuss the impact of the mining code on skills development and local subcontracting in mining, Maleba also highlighted the importance of specialised mining-related skills for the country’s development.

“The DRC needs to update its curriculum at universities and also at schools,” he said.

“More technical programmes for unskilled workers, conducted in collaboration with mining companies, were also required.

“The current construction of cobalt processing facilities at some mines indicated future opportunities, while exploration projects were also picking up,” he continued.

There was definite interest in the DRC, especially with increased global demand for cobalt – despite some uncertainty about the effect of the country’s new mining code.

The mining community appeared full of hope that mining in the area could grow significantly in the coming years, with interest not only from SADC countries, but also from Europe, the US, China and Australasia.

SRK Consulting has been involved extensively in mining projects in the DRC over many years, focusing on mining engineering, geotechnical and environmental aspects among others; the company’s DRC office ensures close proximity to mines, while expertise can be drawn from many other disciplines in SRK Consulting’s worldwide network.