Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde has stressed his government’s commitment to responsibly managing the country’s mineral resources, facilitating investment in mining and promoting local minerals beneficiation. He was addressing the Investing in African Mining Indaba 2022 conference in Cape Town on Tuesday.
“As a mining country, the DRC is committed to the efficient management of its resources and to local processing,” he assured. The country sought to create win-win partnerships with investors – that is, partnerships that were wins for the DRC government, wins for the investors, and wins for the Congolese people.
As only a small part of the DRC had so far been explored, the government was eager to accelerate exploration activities in the country. This, as well as beneficiation, formed part of a strategic plan for the mining sector that the current administration had drawn up.
The government was working towards improving governance and transparency regarding the mining sector, he reported. It was seeking to apply the mining laws so that they provided opportunities for everyone.
The DRC recognized the challenges facing miners in the country, particularly the energy deficit, which currently stood at about 2 GW. For this reason, the government had liberalized the electricity sector, regarding both generation and transmission. This was necessary to allow both the expansion of mining and the development of local minerals and metals processing. In turn, this would help address another DRC challenge – insecurity – by creating jobs, especially for young people.
Regarding climate change and the transition to low-carbon energy sources, he highlighted that the DRC was a global major producer of both cobalt (number one in the world) and copper (number four in the world). The country was seeking to increase its production of both metals. In addition, he invited investors to come to the DRC and explore for lithium and rare earths.
He further stressed that the potential to develop an electric vehicle value chain existed in Africa. But it would require collaboration between African countries, as some had the technologies required, others had some of the required metals and yet others had the rest of these metals. “We need to work together to enable production in Africa,” he said. Already, the DRC and Zambia had agreed to establish a joint centre of excellence for battery technology.
He emphasized that African countries had to support each other in the mining sector. They had to work together to fight climate change.