Gécamines

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Gécamines
State-owned enterprise
Industry Commodities
Metals and Mining
Founded 1906; 111 years ago (1906)
(As Union Minière du Haut Katanga)
Headquarters Lubumbashi
(Headquarters)
Area served
DRC
Key people
Albert Yuma (Chairman)
Jacques Kamenga (CEO)
Jack Rosen (Board of Directors)
Products Metals and minerals, energy products, agricultural products
Number of employees
c.9,000
Website http://gecamines.cd/

Gécamines SA, (an acronym for La nérale des Carrières et des Mines), is a Congolese commodity trading and mining company headquartered in Lubumbashi, in the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a state-controlled corporation founded in 1966 and a successor to the Union Minière du Haut Katanga. Gecamines is engaged in the exploration, research, exploitation and production of mineral deposits including copper, cobalt, tin, gold, uranium, zinc, among others.

One of the largest mining companies in Africa, and the biggest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gécamines sits on the world's greatest deposit of cobalt and has some of the world's largest deposits of copper. Copper mines in which Gécamines has a major interests include, but are not limited to, Kambove, Kipushi, Kamfundwa and Kolwezi.

Located in the mineral-rich Katanga Province, Gécamines is currently going through a multi-year, multi-billion reorganization strategic development plan with the main objective of repositioning itself as one of the world's top mining majors, mainly by focusing on core strategic assets in which the company has majority shares. Among others, Gécamines has forged partnerships and joint ventures with companies such as Anglo-Swiss Glencore International,[1] American giant Freeport-McMoran and London-based Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation. Seeking to enhance profitability by creating lucrative competitive partnerships, in 2013 the Congolese firm appointed US businessman and American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen on its Board of Directors.[2]

In 2015, Gécamines signed a strategic copper and cobalt cooperation accord with Hong-Kong-listed China Non-Ferrous Metal Mining.[3]

In 2016, Gécamines and China Non-Ferrous Metal Mining signed a memorandum of understanding [4] for the construction of two factories, one of which includes Gécamines flagship property project of Deziwa, projected to produce 200.000 tons of copper per year.

History[edit]

Having its roots in the mining company created by Cecil Rhodes and Leopold II of Belgium - Tanganyika Concessions Limited and Société Générale de Belgique - the Union Minière du Haut Katanga gave birth to Gecamines. On December 31, 1966, the Congolese government under Mobutu Sese Seko, took over the Union Minière du Haut Katanga, then an immensely profitable Belgian mining trust founded in 1906, and transformed it into a state-owned firm. Once the world's biggest mining company producing an astonishing 500,000 tonnes of copper a year in its 1980s heyday, the company's fortunes declined due to mismanagement and government interference.

Nonetheless, the company remained crucial to Congolese finance. In 1989, Gécamines provided 85% of DR Congo's export earnings (against 60% provided by the UMHK in 1960), and 42% of public revenues, making it by far the most important company in the country.

In the 1990s, Gécamines financial situation took a blow, adversely affected by several issues, including the ageing of infrastructure and equipment, closure of Kamoto Mine in 1990, and ethnic riots in Shaba. These led to a slump in production, as can be seen in the copper production chart below.

Operations[edit]

Production of copper, by year.

  • 1989: 440,848 tons of copper, 54,043 tons of zinc.
  • 1990: 376,000 tons of copper.
  • 1991: 240,000 tons of copper, 30,000 tons of zinc, 9,800 tons of cobalt.
  • 1994: 32,412 tons of copper, 2,515 tons of zinc, 3,631 tons of cobalt.
  • 2001: 27,507 tons of copper, 3,463 of cobalt.
  • 2002: 21,186 tons of copper, 828 tons of zinc, 1,780 tons of cobalt.
  • 2003: 16,172 tons of copper (8,000 tons of refined copper), 1,200 tons of refined cobalt.

Gécamines is still in possession of proven, probable, and possible ore reserves of copper (56 Mt contained metal), cobalt (4 Mt), and germanium (3.4 Mt), and zinc (6.4 Mt). With assistance from the World Bank, aided by partnerships with other firms and by proper governance in DR Congo, Gécamines hopes to resume its former copper production.[citation needed]

Sites owned by Gécamines[edit]

Mines[edit]

Copper smelters[edit]

Copper refineries[edit]

References[edit]