SarWatch Writer
China-DRC Relations in the Mining Sector: Is a win-win partnership possible?

China-DRC Relations in the Mining Sector: Is a win-win partnership possible?

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China has invested massively in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) mining sector as part of its efforts to gain monopoly over the abundant copper and cobalt resources. China’s presence in the DRC involves both private and state-sponsored initiatives. The DRC is Africa’s biggest copper producer and produces 65 percent of the world’s cobalt. Copper and cobalt are strategic minerals critical in the success of a just transition to clean energy. However, China’s presence in the DRC’s mining industry is raising questions on whether it is contributing or hindering the DRC’s development and stability.

President Felix Tshisekedi has announced government’s plans to review the contracts of two main Chinese Mining Companies operating in the DRC namely Tenke Fungurume Mining and Sicomines. The Sicomines mining project is based on a U.S $3,2 billion development agreement signed between the DRC and China whereby, the latter will build infrastructure in exchange for minerals worth U.S $3 billion. There have been questions whether through this resource-based loan arrangement if the DRC is at all getting a fair deal.

There have also been concerns of widespread cases of human rights abuses in Chinese owned companies, especially in small private controlled businesses. The Chinese companies also abuse the Congolese mining code and operate the mines without titles or rights, some with the support of certain political operators. Increased tensions have also been exacerbated in recent times by reports that Chinese companies engaged in illegal extraction and smuggling of mineral resources especially in the war-torn Eastern provinces of the DRC where conflict and instability are rife. The Chinese Ambassador to the DRC, Mr Zhu Jing, has publicly spoken out against these private Chinese companies engaged in the illegal exploitation of DRC’s mineral resources. He has also agreed to work with the DRC government in its planned review and assessment of the two Chinese mining companies’ contracts.

In the meantime, China continues to prone a win-win approach in its relations with Africa. Key questions by the citizenry have been: Is China a development partner for the DRC or is simply another economic power interested in pillaging the DRC’s resources to satisfy its appetite for strategic resources and win its geopolitics battle with the West? Is President Tshisekedi’s administration resolute in its plan to review Chinese mining contracts signed by his predecessor? Will this be a success and what is likely to be the consequences? Is it possible to stop the multitude of small but sophisticated Chinese private companies that are spurring in the East of the country to illegally smuggle Gold?  Can the DRC and China work together in a win-win partnership?

Join us to discuss China-DRC relations as the government of President Felix Tshisekedi tries to assert its control and authority over the country’s resources at a particular and prudent time as the world is confronted with challenges of energy transition and economic implications of COVID-19.

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2021-09-29 @ 03:30 PM to
2021-09-29 @ 04:30 PM

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