An African nation emerging from decades of conflict and corruption holds the key to greening the global economy. That’s the view of mining magnate Robert Friedland, whose Kamoa-Kakula venture just started producing copper in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). After scouring 59 countries for more than three decades, the Canadian billionaire says the DRC has the world’s best deposits of the metal used in everything from electric cars to solar panels and power grids. Governments and companies are embracing electrification to wean the world off fossil fuels, but shortages of metals loom as a major bottleneck unless miners can crank up output at an unprecedented rate. Congolese deposits are taking the spotlight as growth in top supplier Chile slows amid deteriorating ore quality and huge investment burdens. While geologists have long known about the DRC’s potential, exploration and extraction have been hampered by political instability and lack of transparency and infrastructure. Some deterrents linger. The need for power in particular is holding back development, said Paul Mabolia Yenga, head of the planning agency at the country’s mining ministry. While the largest miners are building or renovating hydroelectric plants, dirty diesel generators are still the norm at many sites.
SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE