Harare — The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)’s national mining corporation and the United Arab Emirates agreed to a $1.9 billion contract to develop at least four mines in the country’s troubled east, Al Jazeera reports.
The cooperation between Societe Aurifere du Kivu et du Maniema (Sakima) and the Emirati government was inked in the capital city of Kinshasa, President Felix Tshisekedi reportedly said.
According to the announcement, the agreement will allow for the “construction of more than 4 industrial mines” in the South Kivu and Maniema provinces. Sakima, a state-owned company, owns mining concessions in the DRC for tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold.
The DR Congo and UAE company Primera Group entered into a 25-year deal for the export rights for select artisanally mined ores in December, which led to the signing of the current arrangement. These are metals that individual miners—those not working for mining corporations – extract.
No additional information concerning the agreement, such as the kind of minerals that will be mined, was shared in the announcement.
The idea was hailed by the DR Congo as a strategy to combat mineral smugglers and ensure that informal miners have a better standard of living.
Militias have been a problem in eastern DRC for decades; the United Nations counted up to 120 such groups. have been partially supported by the trade of illegally acquired minerals.