Engineers and scientists from SRK Consulting’s Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa offices were part of the DRC Mining Week in Lubumbashi recently, sharing information on trends and opportunities in one of Africa’s most important mining hubs.Susa Maleba, SRK’s DRC country manager noted the upbeat mood at the event, driven by the global interest in cobalt and copper. As a member of the DRC Mining Week conference panel to discuss the impact of the mining code on skills development and local subcontracting in mining, Maleba highlighted the importance of specialised mining-related skills for the country’s development. “The DRC needs to update its curriculum at universities and also at schools,” he said, adding that more technical programmes for unskilled workers, conducted in collaboration with mining companies, were also required.
Maleba said the current construction of cobalt processing facilities at some mines was a good indicator for future opportunities, while exploration projects were also picking up.He added that there was definite interest in the DRC, especially with increased global demand for cobalt – despite some uncertainty about the effect of the country’s new mining code. He noted that the mining community appeared full of hope that mining in the area could grow significantly in the coming years, with interest not only from SADC countries, but also from Europe, the US, China and Australasia.