Roskill cautions on the DRC mining industry

first_imgRoskill notes that “The Investing in African Mining Indaba, or Mining Indaba, is dedicated to the successful capitalisation and development of mining interests in Africa. Having run for over 20 years in Cape Town, the event brings together investors, mining companies, governments and other stakeholders from around the world.”This year, Roskill will again be exhibiting. Roskill is a leader in international metals and minerals market research and consultancy focussing on minor metals, steel alloys and industrial minerals.Roskill states that “developments in the DRC could have major implications on metals and minerals markets.“The DRC is the 11th largest country in the world and the third-largest in Africa. Given its scale, it is perhaps unsurprisingly blessed with vast natural resource endowments including cobalt, copper, diamonds, gold, iron ore, manganese, phosphate, niobium, tantalum, tin, and zinc. “The mining sector in the country faces several difficulties. Infrastructure and energy supply issues continue to hamper mining and processing operations, as well as the wider economy. Despite the country having huge hydropower potential, the energy sector remains a major inhibitor to economic development and social inclusion. Further, the DRC’s restrictive railway and road infrastructure continues to impact negatively on the country’s economic growth.A key issue likely to impact the sector is the potential of a political crisis. In 2006, the DRC held its first multi-party elections and in 2011, President Kabila was re-elected for a second term. Elections were due to be held in November 2016 but in January that year, the Independent National Electoral Commission of the DRC released a statement announcing that it would require a further 18 months to update the country’s voters roll. Further, the Minister of Interior declared that several new electoral laws would need to pass through Parliament before an election could take place.  These announcements were perceived by the opposition as strategy of glissement (sliding), seeking an indefinite delay of elections.“The next Presidential election in the DRC is highly important as it marks the end of the maximum term that can be held by Joseph Kabila, whose second, and constitutionally last, term ended on December 19 2016. Suspicion has continued to mount that, as has been the case in Burundi, Congo-Brazzaville, Uganda and Rwanda, Kabila is seeking to delay the electoral process in an attempt to extend his 15-year tenure.  As of Q1 2017, the most likely fixed deadline for the next election, as set out in a 2016 national dialogue agreement, is April 2018. The delays have exacerbated local tensions and led to protests, subsequent crackdowns and fatalities.“Any disruptions in the DRC are likely to impact the cobalt market more than any other.  The DRC has by far the greatest cobalt resources of any country and accounted for roughly 65% of world mine supply in 2016.  As such, it is the principal source of global feedstock for refined cobalt – consumed mostly in lithium-ion batteries.”last_img

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