DRC coalition asks for review of Gertler deals as country will lose fortune in mineral sales

Dan Gertler

THE Democratic Republic of Congo lost out on nearly $2bn in revenue by selling mining and oil assets to Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, said Bloomberg News.

Citing a report by a coalition of Congolese and international organisations – Congo Is Not For Sale – the newswire reported that companies owned by Gertler stand to gain $1.76bn in the next 20 years from copper and cobalt projects in the country.

The coalition has urged the government to review the deals.

Bloomberg quoted a Gertler spokesman as saying the coalition was “… simply making up numbers in an effort to generate the media interest on which their funding relies.”

Gertler, who is under US sanctions for alleged corruption in the DRC, is close friends with the country’s former president Joseph Kabila. Gertler denies all wrongdoing and has never been charged with a crime, said Bloomberg News.

Gertler’s companies own royalty streams from three of the world’s biggest cobalt projects, run by Glencore and Eurasian Resources Group, that could soon produce more than 70,000 tons of cobalt a year – about half of total global output in 2019.

They are also significant copper producers, said Bloomberg News.

The coalition’s report builds on calculations published in 2013 by the late United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel, which alleged the DRC lost out on $1.36bn through the underpricing of mining assets bought by Gertler companies.

“At that time, there was no certainty at all any royalty would even be paid,” Gertler’s spokesman told Bloomberg News.