DAN Gertler was behind the $83m purchase of royalties in Metalkol copper and cobalt project in Democratic Republic of Congo from state-owned mining company Gecamines in 2017, according to report by Reuters.
The newswire cited a video played to journalists in a Kinshasa cinema in which the controversial mining investor said he bought the royalties to help Gecamines to pay off its debts. Gertler is under investigation in the US: it is alleged he used his relationship with Joseph Kabila, when Kabila was DRC president, to conclude sweetheart mining deals.
Gertler said he was offering Congolese individuals an opportunity to share in the royalties, in a scheme that would start before the end of the year. “It is the first time that you, brothers and sisters, will benefit from the wealth of this country,” Gertler said, without providing details.
Gecamines sold its right to 2.5% of the annual royalties from the Metalkol project to Multree, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, in June 2017, said Reuters citing a contract published on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) website on October 30.
Majority-owned by a subsidiary of Kazakh mining company Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), Metalkol started production in early 2018, said Reuters.
In its first phase, the tailings project in Haut Katanga province is expected to produce 14,000 tons of cobalt hyrdoxide and 77,000 tons of copper cathode per year.
At current market prices, Gertler’s cobalt royalties would be worth $11.6m and the copper royalties $13.7m per year, said Reuters. Gertler would recoup his investment in just over three years, although he is not allowed to receive US dollars due to his being under sanctions.
Gertler has denied all allegations of impropriety.