FACTBOX-Mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo July 13 (Reuters)
Polish copper producer KGHM is pulling out of the Democratic Republic of Congo [ID:nL13560235], but other Western miners are increasingly turning to the risky but mineral-rich country for new projects.
Ore in the copper belt in the south-east of the country commonly contains at least three percent copper, much greater than the 1.2 percent in the world's biggest mine, BHP Billiton's Escondida in Chile.
These are the main companies with mining projects in the Congo:
AFRICO RESOURCES: Canadian company Africo, which is 40 percent owned by Rubicon Minerals , has an option to buy 75 percent of the Kalukundi copper-cobalt deposit.
A feasibility study completed in May found that, over a mine life of ten years, Kalukundi could produce 164,296 tonnes of copper and 38,485 tonnes of cobalt. Capital costs would be $166 million, the study said.
ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI: The world's third biggest gold producer, of which Anglo American owns more than 40 percent, has been exploration drilling for gold at Mongbwalu in north-eastern Ituri since 2005. AngloGold says the results so far support historical tonnage and grade estimates of 1.2 million ounces. It increased its exploration budget for the Congo to $8 million for 2006 from $5 million in 2005. Accused in June 2005 of having links with local militia and helping them access gold. State gold mining company is trying to renegotiate agreements signed with Anglo by previous mining authorities.
ANVIL MINING: Owns 90 percent of the Dikulushi copper-silver mine, which produces 20,000 tonnes of copper and 1.8 million ounces of silver per year. Other projects include Mutoshi and Kinsevere. The Kulu mine at Mutoshi was temporarily closed in April this year after an attack on its property that left up to four people dead. Anvil admitted in 2005 that its vehicles and aircraft were used to help move troops for a military exercise that led to civilian deaths in late 2004.
BANRO CORPORATION: Toronto-listed Banro has four gold properties comprising 13 exploitation permits in the South Kivu and Maniema provinces. Measured and indicated resources across the Twangiza, Kamituga, Lugushwa and Nomaya properties total 2.178 million ounces of gold.
BHP BILLITON: BHP, the world's largest diversified miner, said in June it planned to open an office in capital Kinshasa. It has an exploration joint venture in Katanga for copper with a Congolese company, and diamond exploration JVs with Canada's SouthernEra and Gravity of Australia. "We believe the DRC has resource opportunities which fit in with our global business strategy of finding, developing and operating large, long-life, low-cost assets," BHP said in a statement at the time.
CENTRAL AFRICAN MINING AND EXPLORATION CO (CAMEC): In May raised Â£100 million through a share placing to pay for expansion of its Congolese copper and cobalt operations. Produced 5,600 tonnes of cobalt in 2005; expects that figure to rise to 6,600 tonnes this year and 7,600 tonnes in 2007. Began copper production recently, with first sales expected in July 2006. Targeting production of 50,000 tonnes per year by mid-2007.
CHEMAF: Privately-owned Congolese company which owns the licence for the Etolie mine, estimated to hold 682,041 tonnes of copper and 108,951 tonnes of cobalt, and the Makala deposit, as yet unworked. also owns a cobalt processing plant in Lubumbashi.
FIRST QUANTUM: Bought control of Adastra Minerals in a C$275 million deal earlier this year for its Kolwezi copper-cobalt tailings project in Katanga. Adastra anticipates production capacity of 33,200 tonnes of copper and 5,900 tonnes of cobalt per year. Currently completing feasibility study on the project.
KATANGA MINING: Toronto-listed Katanga owns part of, and has options to buy the whole of, Kamoto Copper Company, a joint venture between Kinross Forrest and Gecamines. Kamoto aims to produce 25,000 tonnes of copper and 1,000 tonnes of cobalt in its first year, and 5,000 tonnes by its sixth year. Kinross Forrest is a JV between Kinross Gold and George Forrest International Afrique, one of the companies run by former Gecamines chairman George Forrest.
METOREX: Johannesburg-listed Metorex owns 80 percent of Ruashi Mining, which was set up in 2004 to mine and treat copper and cobalt mined from the Ruashi orebodies and treat the Ruashi and Etoile stockpiles in Kaatanga. Congolese state miner Gecamines owns 20 percent of the company. Proved and provable resources in the orebodies is 31.9 million tonnes of ore containing 3.59 percent copper and 0.59 percent cobalt.
MWANA AFRICA: London-listed Mwana, formerly African Gold, owns 80 percent of Kilo Moto, an exploration licence for gold in the north-east of the country. Bought Anmercosa Exploration, which has exploration rights for copper, cobalt, gold anbd zinc in the copper belt, from Anglo American in 2004.
NIKANOR: Raised $400 million in a London stock exchange listing in July to finance development of three open-pit copper and cobalt mines. Its KOV project, in southern Katanga, has reserves of 6.8 million tonnes of copper and 658,000 tonnes of cobalt. Full operating capacity will be 250,000 tonnes of copper and 25,000 tonnes of cobalt per year, by year six of the project. Rehabilitation of KOV, which was abandoned by Gecamines in 2000, will cost $1.3 billion and take until 2010. Nikanor will also operate two smaller mines, Kananga and Tilwezembe. The company is 25 percent owned by Gecamines and 75 percent by GEC, a firm set up by Israeli businessman Benny Steinmetz and diamond dealer Dan Gertler.
OM GROUP: U.S. based speciality chemicals maker OM Group is majority owner of the Big Hill cobalt smelter in Lubumbashi. After smelting in the Congo, cobalt is sent to OMG's refinery in Kokkola, Finland. Other partners in the smelter are Gecamines and George Forrest Group.
PHELPS DODGE: U.S. major Phelps concluded a $1.6 billion, ten-year deal with Gecamines in August 2005 for the Tenke Fungurume concession in Katanga. Described by chief operating officer Tim Snider as "the largest untapped copper deposits in the world," resources there are estimated at 547 million tonnes containing 3.5 percent copper and 0.27 percent cobalt. Gecamines will keep a 17.5 percent share in the project, with Canadian company Tenke Mining Corp owning the rest.
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