The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Chamber of Mines has reported annual mine production in the DRC of 10,756 tonnes of cassiterite ranging from 55% to 65% tin or 6,454 tonnes of tin assuming 60% Sn. (ITRI has not yet made any comparison of these mine production figures with iTSCi export data for the DRC). This represents a 42% increase in production from 2013. The Chamber’s annual report also identifies a number of issues restricting growth in tin production and the wider mining sector in the DRC.
Critically, the report observes that the DRC is suffering from a deficit in electricity production that forces many mines to operate using expensive generators, at typically 8 to 10 times the cost of electricity from the state provider. The government wishes the DRC to export value added products but further processing by the miners is not economic with such high electricity costs. Also, a shortage of rolling stock is delaying rail shipping and resulting in penalties for late delivery of tin-concentrates against 3-month LME contracts. The government’s policy of freezing the bank accounts of mining companies when a dispute arises is also highlighted as a serious issue.
Finalising the guidelines for reviews of the mining code, tackling corruption and improving the stability of energy supply, security and transport infrastructure are all emphasized as key potential improvements for the mining sector in the DRC. The report stresses that fast-tracking the approval of exploration and mining licenses in tin mining areas is crucial to preventing delays to establishment of mining operations.