Lubumbashi, DRC — 17 October 2013 – Gecamines, the state-owned miner of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is considering an initial public offering within the next two years, according to head of research and planning Mbangu Mwangal.
Bloomberg News quotes Mwangal as telling the iPad mining and infrastructure conference here that Gecamines is trying to certify about 8Mt of copper reserves to attract financing for several new projects.
“We’re in the process or raising financing and I think soon, in a maximum of two years,” Gecamines may go public, he said. “The certification will allow us to be more transparent in terms of reserves.”
Gecamines was once one of the world’s biggest copper miners, producing 476,000t in 1986. Production of the metal almost stopped in the early 2000’s after decades of mismanagement at the company and the ongoing war in the central African country. “The company needs about US$2.8 billion in financing to build new production facilities and a coal-powered electricity plant planned under a revitalisation programme,” he explained.
Gecamines resumed exploration for the first time in two decades last year, and increased its estimated reserves by more than 900,000t, Mwangal said. Output was about 35,000t of copper last year and that may increase to 50,000t in 2013, he added.
Doubts about Gecamines’ management continue to dog the company. Last year, the International Monetary Fund canceled its US$532-million loan programme with the DRC because of questions about some of Gecamines asset sales.
The company is about to present the results of an audit of all its joint ventures, which may result in it “taking action” against its partners, Gecamines chairman Albert Yuma said in a recent interview. Companies including Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Incorporated, Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) and Glencore Xstrata plc have copper and cobalt ventures with Gecamines in Katanga.
“To go on the stock market you must be credible, you must respect your engagements, and you must respect all the contracts of your partners,” Moise Katumbi, the governor of Katanga, told the conference in response to Mwangal’s remarks.
Congo is the world’s eighth-largest producer of copper and the biggest source of cobalt.
Source: Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.