Diversified international natural resources producer Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) has highlighted the importance of Africa in its long-term international growth strategy.
ERG-Africa, a division of ERG, is undertaking an ambitious turnaround programme to move its African copper/cobalt assets down the global cost curve to lowest quartile positioning by 2017. As part of this, the company is pursuing production increases in the next three to five years to reach a total yearly production of about 300 000 t/y of copper and more than 20 000 t/y of cobalt.
“We view Africa as a driver of our future international growth. In addition to Kazakhstan, Africa is a region that offers exceptional opportunities for ERG to strategically expand its portfolio,” says ERG CEO Benedikt Sobotka.
The group has a competitive project pipeline in Africa, with an existing footprint that includes copper and cobalt production assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia, as well as development-stage platinum, coal, manganese, bauxite and fluospar assets in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique and Mali.
Its flagship development is the Metalkol Roan Tailings Reclamation (RTR) project, in the DRC. The major tailings reprocessing operation will provide a long-term, stable supply of ethically mined cobalt for the market.
ERG’s operations in the DRC are among the highest-profile and largest-scale in the country. Recognising its responsibility to the DRC and in securing the world’s natural resources, the group maintains strong ethical standards in all aspects of its operations.
ERG has an active social investment programme spanning education, healthcare and training for local employees and it takes active steps to ensure the integrity of its supply chain.
“The Mining Indaba is always a significant event for the industry,” Sobotka asserts, adding that “it is vital that, despite economic conditions, we recognise the importance of Africa as a region and continue investing not only in our own businesses but also in fuelling infrastructure growth and improving the health, wealth and well-being of the communities where we operate.”
Sobotka has been working with the World Economic Forum, nongovernmental organisations and other mining companies to improve and implement ethical standards for the industry.
ERG, represented at the Indaba by senior execu- tives from the group and its Africa operations, made a significant contribution to the event’s key sessions on copper, African growth strategies and sustainability.