Kinshasa, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 24 November 2010 – The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has replaced the leadership of state mining company Gecamines due to management deficiencies and failure to make the most of rising metals prices.
A total of nine officials were sacked at the weekend in a shake-up ordered by President Joseph Kabila, according to officials at the mines ministry and the office of the prime minister.
“Although it had many years of experience, the old management team lacked the initiative to increase production despite favourable copper and cobalt prices, and it failed due to bad management of partnerships,” mines minister Martin Kabwelulu told Reuters by text message.
Kabwelulu revealed that Ahmed Kalej “’ previously treasury director at the central bank “’ has replaced Callixte Mukasa as director of Gecamines, which mainly mines copper and cobalt in Katanga.
Albert Yuma “’ head of the country’s business federation, FEC “’ will become president of the board, while Jacques Kamenga will deputise for Kalej, officials at the mines ministry said.
Six other administrators have also been changed.
Copper production in the DRC is believed to be rising, but official estimates of output vary widely. Mines ministry forecasts from earlier this year saw production from the Katanga region in 2011 at 516 000t, mainly due to joint ventures with international firms, but Katanga governor Moise Katumbi told Reuters last week the figure would top 1Mt next year.
Reuters reports that, despite joint ventures in 30 projects with private international companies at the end of 2009 in some of the world’s most lucrative mining operations throughout Katanga, Gecamines has been saddled with debt, low revenues and a fall in its own output under the old management team.
“The priority has to be to kick-start production “’ that’s the main thing,” Kalej told Reuters by telephone. “We also need to continue exploration and really invest in production facilities “’ it’s certainly down to finding finance, but also in the quality of spending,” Kalej pointed out.