For Good Or Bad? Congo´s Riches Being Exploited Again

For Good Or Bad? Congo´s Riches Being Exploited Again

From Business Day

The open pit of the giant Kibali mine in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a yawning beige crater in dense forest, could turn a remote corner of one of the world’s poorest countries into an economic powerhouse.

Kibali represents Congo’s return to the world stage as a producer and exporter of gold. The $2.5bn joint venture between Randgold, AngloGold Ashanti and state miner Sokimo poured its first gold in September and could rank among the world’s biggest.

Its scale is already evident. The mines’ sides descend in a series of deep shelves, making trucks at the base, which each carry 100 tonnes of rock to the surface to be processed, appear small as insects.

Randgold Resources CEO Mark Bristow has great hopes that Kibali, and a neighbouring agri-business project sponsored by the mine, can do for Orientale province what copper and cobalt have done for the southern province of Katanga, on which central government relies for much of its income.

Industrial mining operations are moving back to regions that have been the preserve of artisanal miners since the collapse of Congo’s state-run mining operations in the 1990s.

“It’s a dream of mine that gold mining and agribusiness in Orientale will beat Katanga as a source of economic welfare,” Mr Bristow told a ceremony to officially open Kibali last week.

Written by Peter Jones/Read more at Business Day