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Subsidiary of Congo's Gecamines secures $75m to build new unit

11th April 2023

By: Reuters

  

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A subsidiary of the Democratic Republic of Congo's State mining company Gecamines said on Tuesday it had secured $75-million in funding to build a new hydro-metallurgical unit to produce materials used in the manufacturing of semiconductors.

STL, a company focused on making commercial use of a slag heap in Lubumbashi, capital city of the mining region of Katanga in southeastern Congo, said the new funding would also extend the life of its existing facilities by 30 years.

The new unit, projected to be operational from August this year, will produce copper cathodes, cobalt hydroxide, a germanium precipitate, silver concentrate and zinc oxides, STL said in a statement.

"For the first time, the processing of alloys will be carried out on the African continent ... by an African player, to extract the added value," it said.

"STL will also become a major player in the production of germanium worldwide, an essential metal to produce semiconductors."

STL is the French language acronym of the firm's full name, which translates as Company for the Treatment of the Lubumbashi Slag Heap.

Part of the new financing package came from its own funds, while Congo-based Rawbank SA provided a loan, STL said.

Mustafa Rawji, general manager of Rawbank, said the venture would add value locally to the minerals that the DRC exports into global markets, while ensuring "perfect traceability".

In addition, multinational commodity trader Trafigura renewed an existing $20 million prepayment agreement in return for the extension of an exclusive commercial contract for the purchase of zinc oxides, STL added.

Gonzalo de Olazaval, Global Co-Head of Metals and Minerals at Trafigura said he was "pleased to support STL in the development of its metallurgical concentrate processing capabilities".

Edited by Reuters

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