The DRC’s mining sector will have a solid year in 2021 and the mining community is ready to gather in Lubumbashi from 15-17 June for the annual DRC Mining Week.
LUBUMBASHI, KATANGA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, December 12, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ — “There is no doubt that the DRC’s mining sector will have a solid year in 2021 and the mining community is ready and looking forward to gathering in Lubumbashi from 15-17 June for the annual DRC Mining Week expo and conference.”
This is according to Emmanuelle Nicholls, the Group Director, Mining and Natural Resources at Clarion Events Africa, who have been the organisers of DRC Mining Week for the last 16 years.
She adds: “DRC’s mining sector did well to cope with and address many of the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presented, and as always, the extractives community proved resilient and innovative. Going forward, with the prices of key commodities such as copper, cobalt and gold, doing well, the outlook is good and we will have a lot to talk about in the run-up to and during the event!”
Cobalt is primarily used in lithium-ion batteries and in the manufacture of magnetic, wear-resistant and high-strength alloys. The DRC hosts 70% of the world’s cobalt resources.
Nicholls: “During this year it has also become abundantly clear that mining groups and off-takers alike are starting to take seriously the global movement towards responsible mining by pro-actively reaching out to the local communities to improve conditions and support social development.”
Once such example is the support by the Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) for the ‘Children out of Mining-Northern Kolwezi’ programme, an initiative carried out by international development organisation, Pact, in the Kolwezi region in the south of the DRC where ERG’s Metalkol RTR project is located.
The German car manufacturer VW also recently joined the ‘Cobalt Alliance for the DRC’ initiative as part of its efforts to improve artisanal cobalt mining conditions in this central African mining hub and to develop health and safety conditions by promoting better mine site management and environmental training for miners, starting with 12 artisanal cobalt cooperatives, also in and around Kolwezi.
“Tesla’s deal with Glencore to supply the company with cobalt also indicates that DRC will be in the spotlight for many years to come as a mining destination for strategic minerals and metals,” says Nicholls. Earlier in the year, Glencore also signed a 5-year copper supply deal with Samsung.
Safety and security important themes
“Safety and security will be important themes for our sessions as well as how we will look after our guests at the upcoming DRC Mining Week expo and conference in Lubumbashi in June 2021,” says Nicholls. “Attendees can expect to attend and participate in up-to-date and relevant sessions, meeting the mining pioneers and partners that we have become known for during the last 16 years.”
The programme will offer various activities for the delegates, with an important focus on responsible mining, while also taking anti-COVID measures onsite very seriously to make the experience a safe, yet, valuable one.
“We have missed being onsite,” says Nicholls, “and many of our clients and partners have echoed that sentiment, although everyone had to adapt.”
The event was postponed twice during 2020 due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“However, the disruption caused by COVID-19 accelerated the change that was bound to happen with the emergence of the digital world,” notes Nicholls. “It is now part of most people’s lives and is part of our future. Given the number of people that participated in our digital event in June 2020 and at our webinars during the course of the year, the mind shift was a positive one, the uptake was good and people have embraced the shift. We all had to learn new skills and polish others. Moreover, we have been able to reach a new audience that would not necessarily travel to the DRC but is excited about the investment and trade opportunity, the mining sector offers.”
“My only regret,” says Nicholls, “is that unfortunately the digital activities do not always allow miners and other stakeholders in remote places to connect onto the platforms. It was impressive how everyone embraced going digital, despite the technical and connectivity problems at times, but one has to be realistic about reaching everyone, and DRC Mining Week has always offered something for everyone in the mining value chain. This is why our live event will be back in 2021 so no one is left out and everyone involved in mining in the DRC can touch base with all industry players.”
Returning to Karavia Hotel
DRC Mining Week will take place from 15 – 17 June 2021 at the Karavia Hotel in Lubumbashi 2021. “We will bring back the connections, interaction and the knowledge base that we have been offering since 2004, as well as the laughter and the fun that we have become famous for!” smiles Nicholls.
“Next year the event will gather over 3500 participants – fewer than we hosted in 2019, but this is due to the social distancing restrictions we have to comply with. Our 230 exhibitors cannot wait to be back and to do business on the expo floor – among them our diamond plus sponsors: Orange, Standard Bank as well as our international pavilions.
“We are already 80% sold out, a number we are really proud of. It shows that trust that our partners have in our event and we plan to live up to that trust.
“While the conference will welcome 400 delegates over two and a half days to engage on topics such as policy and regulation, trade and collaboration, power and infrastructure, industrialisation, safety and security, artisanal mining, women in mining, beneficiation and technologies, our numerous functions will take place in a controlled environment, and a golf day has been organised in partnership with ComexAfrica. Additionally, 2021 will see the first of its kind speed dating between mining companies and exhibitors.”
Digital will continue
In the run-up to the next live, in-person event in Lubumbashi, the organisers are also developing another series of free but exclusive digital engagements, in French and in English, that will take place throughout the course of the year.