2023 DRC Mining Week : Unlocking Opportunities, Creating Value

Democratic Republic of Congo’s mining sector has huge untapped potential. However, the question has always been how to unlock opportunities in an environment that has had its fair share of challenges. Now, various stakeholders, led by the DRC government, are endeavouring to awaken what has been touted as ‘The sleeping giant of African mining". FIRST MINING DRC ZAMBIA’s Editorial Team asks Samukelo Madlabane, event Director of VUKA Group, organisers of the DRC Mining Week, about the relevance of the 2023 event in the context of exciting developments in the DRC mining sector.


FMDZ: We have observed that the DRC Mining Week has consistently grown in leaps and bounds. What do you regard as aspects of this year’s event that make this year’s event a trailblazer? Why is this year’s event even better than the previous ones you have organised? 

SM: We have observed a lot more interest in the DRC and Copperbelt mining industry this year than in previous years.

As your readers would be aware, the DRC possesses significant untapped quantities of high-grade copper, cobalt, gold, and other minerals. The DRC is the fourth-largest producer of copper in the world, produces more than 70% of the world’s cobalt, and has 60% of the world’s coltan reserves. Some of these minerals are key to the energy transition that the world is undertaking if we are to avoid the devastating impact of climate change.

In recent months, the US has been actively courting the DRC government, and we have seen how the DRC has found itself caught in the centre of the US-China competition for control of global mineral supply chains. The DRC on the other hand, has been casting its net wide, wooing keen investors from across the world to control the future of its mineral wealth.

It is for this reason we have seen both the conference and the expo being oversubscribed- even though we have added a new marquee thus growing the exhibition.

FMDZ: There are many events out there that are Mining, Oil and Gas related. What would you say makes the DRC Mining Week a cut above the rest or unique?

SM: DRC Mining Week is unique because it is a purpose-driven event, it has sustainability at its core. It is driven by the need for a shared prosperous future. This event brings the entire spectrum with the aim to seize current opportunities, spotlight future ones, and inspire the next generation to be part of moving the mining sector forward.

At DRC Mining Week, we are on a journey to tell compelling stories of the people, projects and technologies driving the mining sector forward.

Moreover, this event spotlights opportunities in DRC and the Copperbelt – a region that is well known for having abundant mineral resources, resources that are important to the future of humanity.

The DRC government actively participates in this event and lends its strong support to the event. This backing fosters a collaborative and cooperative environment that brings together the mining value chain to discuss burning issues, explore opportunities, exchange knowledge, and drive positive change from within.

FMDZ: Specifically, what tangible values do participants drawn from the mining and allied sectors benefit from? 

SM: We recognise the fact that there is a need to create shared value and a long-lasting positive legacy for all mining stakeholders and that this intrinsically connects us to the entire mining value chain in the region.

Additionally, for the sector to grow and thrive, cooperation between governmental bodies, industry players, and international investors is vital – and DRC Mining Week fosters the environment that enables just that. We want to see more collaboration and cooperation – from the entire value chain.

FMDZ: What are some of the overlooked opportunities in the DRC Mining ecosystem that the event aims to highlight? 

SM: The DRC’s mining regulations and policies have changed substantially, and the global investment community needs to keep up. The international community needs to stop looking at the country from a historical perspective– if it continues to do so, many lucrative opportunities will be lost.

Additionally, the country not only has mineral wealth but also offers huge opportunities to create downstream opportunities in the mining value chain.

FMDZ: What trends do you see shaping the future trajectory of mining in the DRC and the Copperbelt?

SM: The DRC is increasingly looking at ways to take control of the downstream supply chain of the mineral it produces. Additionally, the DRC is an important global producer in the battery metals supply chain, and it is looking to produce battery precursors locally, achieving this feat would be a game changer for the country

We have seen new legislation enacted and it has made investing in the country more attractive.

There is also a strong intent to formalise the artisanal mining sector which will promote socio-economic development in communities. The government is also committed to more environmentally sustainable mining in the country as well as ensuring that human rights are not infringed upon.

FMDZ: What do you hope to see happening in the DRC that can attract investment in the sector and make the country realise its value? 

SM: As a supporter of the DRC’s mineral sector advancement and development, there are several important things that I hope take place to draw investment to the area and help the nation fulfil its full potential.

We hope to see the DRC make a lot more investment in the sector in the coming years and that investment creates shared wealth that also benefits the local economy.

We hope to see a lot more investment in critical infrastructure, using finance instruments that are fair and equitable for all players. To this end, a stable and open regulatory environment must be established and maintained. The DRC can establish an atmosphere that is favourable to business by ensuring that regulations are clear and consistent, giving investors confidence in their investments.

We would also like to see the continual strengthening of the country’s governance systems.

We also hope to see continued emphasis on environmental stewardship and sustainable mining practices that prioritise the interests of local communities.

I would also like to see the country realise its ambition to increase its local content development and its skills base.

These are the areas where the DRC should concentrate to develop a favourable investment environment and maximise the potential of its mining industry. In turn, this will support economic expansion, the creation of jobs, the improvement of infrastructure, and the general socioeconomic well-being of the nation and its people.

FMDZ: There has been a rise in webinars and related virtual exhibitions. What can you assure sceptics who doubt the relevance of events like the DRC mining week held “In-person“? 

SM: In-person events provide a unique opportunity for networking and building relationships, immersive experiences, serendipitous encounters, and dynamic knowledge exchange.

They offer a unique opportunity for networking and building relationships, immersive experiences, serendipitous encounters, and dynamic knowledge exchange.

This can lead to long-lasting collaborations, partnerships, and business opportunities. In-person events provide opportunities for real-time engagement, brand visibility and reputation building, cultural context and local insights, and human connection and engagement.

They offer a multi-dimensional and immersive experience that cannot be replicated in a virtual setting. Panel discussions, workshops, and interactive sessions provide opportunities for real-time engagement, brand visibility and reputation building, cultural context and local insights, and human connection and engagement.

FMDZ: Are there any changes to be undertaken in the coming years to ensure that the event is relevant and abreast of changing needs?  

SM: We always have our ear on the ground, actively engaging with the advisory board and the stakeholder base to ensure that our content keeps abreast of industry trends and that it stays relevant.

Given the demand we’ve seen over the years for this particular event, we need to ensure that our venue can service our needs and the increased participation demand.

Do not miss the opportunity :Expo Visitor Registration


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