Forrest Group

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Forrest Group
Private
Founded 1922
Founder Malta Forrest
Key people
George Forrest, Owner and Chairman

The Forrest Group (also Groupe Forrest) is a group of companies founded around the mining industry in 1922, currently active mostly in Central and East Africa. It is owned by George Arthur Forrest, a Belgian entrepreneur of New Zealand descent.

Early history[edit]

Malta Forrest launched l'Entreprise Générale Malta Forrest (EGMF), a transport company, in 1922 in Katanga Province in the south of the Belgian Congo. Starting in 1933, the company moved into mining gold, copper and manganese in the Kolwezi, Musonoi and Kasekelesa mines. In 1951 the company undertook the mining and civil engineering works to open the Kisenge manganese mine. In the early 1950s it broadened out into public works and civil engineering, building the roads, sewerage system and airport for the mining city of Kolwezi. Around this time the firm began to focus on civil engineering in the western Katanga copper belt.[1]

Victor Eskenazi-Forrest, the founder’s adoptive son, helped Malta Forrest to manage the company, starting in 1954. In 1968 the company took limited liability status. It was then involved in a series of large scale public works projects funded by international organizations such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank. Malta Forrest died in 1974, and Victor Eskenazi-Forrest and George Arthur Forrest, the founder's son, became Managing Directors. In 1986 George Arthur Forrest took full control.[1]

The company undertook a major government contract to restore the road network in Lubumbashi, Likasi, Kolwezi and Kalemie. In 1990 EGMF undertook a large strip mining work for the state-controlled mining company Gécamines. In 1991 the country, now called Zaire, went through political upheaval and fell into a prolonged recession, bring the engineering works to a halt. In May 1995 EGMF helped fund Gécamines in mining the cobalt deposit of Kasombo 1, working as a private sector partner to the state-owned company. George Forrest created the George Forrest International Group that year.[1]

Later activities[edit]

Korongo Airlines Boeing 737-300

The Forrest Group today includes "Malta Forrest", "George Forrest International S.A.", etc. The companies consist of diverse industrial activities, including wind power energy, hydroelectric energy, mining & metallurgy, cement manufacturing, public works, civil engineering, biological food, aviation, and munitions manufacturing.[2]

Controversy[edit]

In 2002 a United Nations panel named the George Forrest Group as one of 29 companies that should face sanctions for their operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[3]

In December 2010 Wikileaks published cables that they alleged showed that US officials were ignoring reports of dangerously high levels of radiation at Forrest's Luiswishi Mine, and implied that uranium was being separated from the ore which purportedly held only copper and cobalt.[4] Groupe Forrest International refuted these rumors, saying that although uranium was present in the copper and cobalt ore from the mine, it was at far too low a grade to be exploited, and radioactivity in the Luiswishi mine was largely lower than the European standards.[5]

In 2009 Forrest invested in Korongo Airlines, together with Brussels Airlines and local investors, for flights between Lubumbashi and Kinshasa. Launch of other domestic services depended on upgrades to airport infrastructure.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Background history". Entreprise Générale Malta Forrest. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  2. ^ "Company's Background". George Forrest International. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  3. ^ Michael Buchanan (17 April 2006). "Scramble for DR Congo's mineral wealth". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  4. ^ Julio Godoy (26 December 2010). "Wikileaks - Continent Offers Easy Uranium". IPS. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  5. ^ "Wikileaks "Recent Allegations of Uranium Trafficking in the Democratic Republic of Congo"". GROUPE FORREST INTERNATIONAL. December 20, 2010. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  6. ^ Thomas Hubert (20 April 2010). "Korongo Airlines sets up shop in Lubumbashi". Retrieved 2011-11-15.