Toronto, Canada — MININGREVIEW.COM — 10 March 2010 – Investors are becoming increasingly comfortable with mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has the potential to become the largest gold producer on the African continent.
“I believe the DRC in ten years time will be as acceptable as an investment destination as Ghana and Tanzania are today,” said Banro Corporation chairman Simon Village at an event hosted here by the Canada-South African Chamber of Commerce.
Tanzania is now the third-largest gold producer in Africa, after South Africa and Ghana.
Banro plans to pour the first gold at its first mine “’ the Twangiza project in the DRC “’ by the end of 2011, and started work on phase-one construction last month, corporate development vice-president Martin Jones said later in an interview.
“The company hired Standard Chartered last year to advise on debt financing for the Twangiza project, and still expects to have the funding in place by the end of the second quarter, “he added.
“While the DRC is still viewed as a high-risk mining jurisdiction, the recent investment by AngloGold Ashanti and Randgold Resources in what is now called the Kibali project, could signal a turning point,” Village added.
“The fact that AngloGold “’ the largest gold producer in Africa “’ has taken a 45% interest in the multi-million ounce Kibali project, indicates that the DRC is starting to move along the process,” Village said. “It is by no means attracting the same level of attention as Ghana and Tanzania, but that is going to come.”
The risk profile of companies operating in the DRC was seen to have risen sharply, after the government commissioned a review of the 60-odd mining contracts with foreign companies last year to determine the legality of the deals and renegotiate those seen as unfair to the government.
Most firms came through the review process unscathed, although some contracts were reworked somewhat.