The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Barrick Gold have renewed their commitment for working together to boost DRC’s gold mining industry. Barrick, with its joint venture partner AngloGold Ashanti Ltd of South Africa have an extensive exploration program designed to develop worldclass gold ore bodies at Kibali in the DRC.
According to media reports, Barrick and AngloGold Ashanti each have 45% equity in Kibali Goldmines SA, which owns the mine. Meanwhile, Société Miniére de Kilo-Moto has 10% stake.
President Tshisekedi said DRC is potentially the wealthiest country on earth in terms of natural resources, but still remains one of the poorest. As such, he is currently on charm offensive to restore investor confidence.
The DRC’s image has been dented by civil war, corruption and lack of certainty in national and local government legislation. On the other hand, infrastructure facilities like electricity transmission grid and roads are in deplorable condition.
Meanwhile, extractives firms are concerned about the new mining code that previous regime introduced. The said code has since raised mineral royalties, increased taxes and deleted a clause protecting miners against fiscal changes for 10 years.
Furthermore, the majority of towns lack access to the national grid despite DRC’s huge potential to generate electricity using the River Congo’s water.
President Tshisekedi’s key priority is to effect economic and financial reforms to spur development with help of the international community especially the US.
Kibali, one of Africa’s largest gold mines comprises integrated open pit and underground operation with 7.2 million tonnes per annum processing plant.
First gold was dug from open mines and commissioning of full underground extraction was completed at the end of 2017.
The United Nations Group of Experts on DRC investigation in 2017 cited Uganda as the main transit hub although some gold passes through Rwanda.