Gecamines chairman Yuma heaps praise on Deziwa JV as China strengthens DRC hand

Alfred Yuma, chairman, Gecamines

ALBERT Yuma, chairman of the Democratic of Congo’s (DRC’s) state-owned base metals company Gecamines, heaped praise on the firm’s joint venture with China Nonferrous Metal Mining Company (CNMC) owing to the nature of the association.

Unlike joint ventures with other companies in the country, the arrangement with CNMC left Gecamines “… the only masters on board”, said Yuma in an article by Reuters.

Yuma was commenting following the opening of Deziwa, a copper and cobalt mine in which Gecamines has a 49% stake.

By contrast, Gécamines holds just 25% of Kamoto Copper Company, with 75% owned by Glencore subsidiary Katanga Mining, said Reuters. CNMC will operate Deziwa for nine years, with a possible two-year extension, before transferring it to Gécamines.

“Unlike our other industrial partnerships, the lifespan of our collaboration is already fixed and at the end of it, we will be the only masters on board,” Yuma said in the speech, read out in his stead at the mine opening which he did not attend.

The Deziwa deposit, around 35 kilometres east of Kolwezi, is estimated to hold 4.6 million tons of copper and 420,000 tons of cobalt, said Reuters. The joint venture company spent $880m on the project which started construction in May 2018.

The mine will produce 80,000 tons of copper and 8,000 tons of cobalt per year.

The Deziwa mine is the latest example of the close investment ties China has forged with Congo, said Reuters. Yuma said the two countries were “… united in their wish to strengthen and develop new industrial and economic relations”.

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