FACTBOX-Mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Thursday June 28, 9:31 PM

June 28 (Reuters) – This month the Democratic Republic of Congo began its review of contracts for mining concessions.

The mineral-rich African country is looking at 60 mining deals, most of which were negotiated during a six-year war and the three-year transitional period that followed.

These are the main companies with mining projects in the Congo:

(* indicates a new or updated entry)

ANGLO AMERICAN

The world’s third biggest mining group recently opened an office in the city of Lubumbashi in the country’s copper belt. In Kinshasa, Anglo works from the office of diamond group De Beers, in which Anglo holds at 45 percent stake.

Anglo will be exploring in the DRC and seven other African countries to look for large base metals deposits. Chief Executive Cynthia Carroll said in June the company would inject $3.5 billion of new investment into Africa in the next five years.

AFRICO RESOURCES

Shares in Canadian company Africo fell 45.8 percent in April after the company said $90 million in financing had been cancelled owing to a court ruling in the DRC that denied Africo’s ownership in the Kalukundi copper-cobalt project.

A court in Lubumbashi ruled that Akam Mining SPRL, not Africo, owned 75 percent of the company that owns Kalukundi.

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI

The world’s third biggest gold producer, of which Anglo American owns more than 40 percent, increased its exploration budget for the Congo to $15 million for 2007 from $8 million in 2006.

It has been drilling for gold at Mongbwalu in northeastern Ituri since 2005. AngloGold says the results so far support historical tonnage and grade estimates of 1.2 million ounces.

* ANVIL MINING

On Thursday, a military court in Congo acquitted three former Anvil employees of complicity in war crimes by government soldiers in 2004 [ID:nL28846669].

The company’s trucks and planes were used by the army in an attack on a town near Anvil’s Dikulushi mine. Anvil said its vehicles were requisitioned by the military, and it had no choice but to hand them over.

In April this year, Anvil’s board approved the construction of the 60,000 tonnes per year copper-making facility at its 95-percent owned Kinsevere project costing $238 million.

In addition, it 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 last year after an attack on its property that left up to four people dead.

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, is exploring for copper and diamonds in the DRC. BHP will spend more than half its exploration budget for the fiscal year ending in June in Africa, it said. Earlier this year, it said it was in the “early stages” of looking at an aluminium smelter project in the country.

CAPITAL RESOURCE FUNDING CORP

This Chinese company, through its subsidiary Dalian Xinyang High-Tech Development (DLX), this month signed a contract to buy the prospecting and mining rights to a cobalt mine in Lubumbashi. DLX, one of the largest Chinese cobalt producers, will own 80 percent of the mined cobalt and Shengbao Group will own the remainder. DLX intends to build a facility to produce finished cobalt products from raw ore on-site, the firm said.

CENTRAL AFRICAN MINING AND EXPLORATION CO (CAMEC)

Is targeting production of 40,000 tonnes copper and 6,000 tonnes cobalt from its Luita plant by the end of March 2008, rising to 100,000 tonnes copper and 12,000 tonnes cobalt by the end of the year. Also has the rights to concession areas 467 and 469, which contain copper and cobalt mineralisation.

Camec has recently run into a row with the Congolese government over Zimbabwean businessman Billy Rautenbach, who owns a stake in the company and is a former head of state mining firm Gecamines.

Camec claims the dispute may be related to the stake it is trying to build in Katanga Mining , which also operates in the DRC. Katanga is attempting to get Canadian regulators to block Camec from adding to the 22 percent stake it already owns.

CHEMAF

Privately-owned Congolese company which owns the licence for the Etoile mine, estimated to hold 682,041 tonnes of copper and 108,951 tonnes of cobalt, and the yet unworked Makala deposit.

It also controls the Kananga concession in joint venture with state miner Gecamines.

Chemaf plans to begin industrial mining operations at the Makala and Kananga mines beginning in late 2007 or early 2008.

It owns a cobalt processing plant in Lubumbashi and is currently constructing a facility to produce copper cathode.