Can you tell us about your background?
I have spent 23 years in mining industry. I started as a mining engineer and worked in several operations across various roles including mining, technical areas and management. Prior to joining MMG, I was the Vice President and Head of Technical Services of Gold Fields Limited for the west African region. I have previously spent six years at MMG in Australia as Group Manager Mining between 2013 and 2019 and this role enabled me to develop a deep knowledge of MMG’s operations. I also worked extensively with other mining companies in different commodities.
Last year, I rejoined MMG as the Executive General Manager for Australia and Africa and have been a member of the Executive Committee since May 2022. I have a deep understanding of MMG’s international operations and am excited by the opportunity to develop our Kinsevere operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In 2023, what is MMG’s vision for expansion in Africa and specially in DRC? How do you quantify MMG’s contributions in the Congolese economy?
We are committed to growing our presence in the DRC and have been investing in our host region the Haut-Katanga province. Our objective is to secure a strong future for our Kinsevere operation.
Last year, our board approved the Kinsevere Expansion Project (KEP) and a capital expenditure of 550 to 600 million dollars. This project will extend the life of our Kinsevere operation for at least 13 years.
As part of the project, we will expand our processing plant allowing us to transition processing sulphides and cobalt resources at our Kinsevere mine. Most significantly the project adds cobalt production to Kinsevere portfolio, at a time when demand from electric vehicles and energy storage systems are expected to accelerate as the world transitions to a low carbon future.
In addition to adding cobalt production to our portfolio, we are aiming to lift the Kinsevere annual production up to more than 100,000 tonnes of copper equivalent production.
Our expectation is that the first cobalt will be produced in 2023. We are excited about the opportunities of continuing working in a highly prospective mineral province which is well placed to deliver the materials to lead the world’s energy transition.
MMG is one of the largest investors in the DRC and proud of our significant economic and social contributions. We are also a major investor, taxpayer, employer and purchaser of local goods and services. In 2021 we contributed 250 million dollars to the DRC economy.
What about your ‘specifications’
On 6 June 2021, Kinsevere signed the ‘Cahier de charge’ with the local community, sponsoring a series of social development programs, pledging 6 million dollars to assist local villages. We continue to work closely with communities and have quarterly evaluations meeting of the Cahier de Charges projects. This is an opportunity to update the communities on our progress, but also to receive feedback as our projects deliver on shared goals.
How do you evaluate the result of this social involvement in Congo in terms of concrete results?
Kinsevere’s community investment approach aligns with regional priorities and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
There are around 26 communities near the mine, and together with local leaders and our partners we focused on delivering support across four key pillars: the essentials for life, health and well-being support, AIDS and providing vaccination support, securing incomes and, education.
Our work with the community is focused on building local skills and capabilities to ensure benefits are sustainable.
I have been particularly pleased with our work to support women into the mining industry. Our advocacy and partnership with the DRC government have enabled the delivery of legislative changes to increase female participation in the workforce, not just in our operation but across the DRC.
Our Kinsevere Social Development and Security teams also work to help build awareness of artisanal and small-scale mining risks in open and transparent discussions with community leaders and other industry partners.
Let’s talk about your operating plan for your mining in Sokoroshi.
Sokoroshe II and Nambulwa are critical to the future success of KEP. Our plan is to develop Sokoroshi as a part of the Kinsevere operations. It’s an important part of the expansion project which will contribute to the mine life extension.
MMG activities in Katanga are expanding despite the declining of its operating mining in Kinsevere side, that will expand the extension of activities for 13 years, could you tell us about this investment that requires more than 600 million dollars?
The project will add cobalt production to Kinsevere’s portfolio, at a time when demand from electric vehicles and energy storage systems are expected to accelerate as we transition to a low carbon future.
In addition to extending the life of the Kinsevere mine by at least 13 years from 2022, the Kinsevere Expansion Project will bring the annual production of copper cathode up to 80,000 tonnes and 4,000 – 6,000 tonnes of cobalt in cobalt hydroxide.
Right now, we have 1,800 people employed both as MMG personnel and contractors, 94% are DRC nationals. As we look at cobalt plans for expansion, we will have further addition for local employees.
Regarding your experience, when did you plan to start this project?
MMG is committed to growing our presence by investing in the Haut-Katanga province and in DRC and to securing a strong future for our operation.
We launched the construction phase in 2022 with first cobalt production expected in 2023. First copper cathode production from the sulphide orebody is expected in 2024 with the mine to continue production of copper cathode from the remaining oxide orebody during the construction phase.
Securing the future of Kinsevere will most importantly allow us to continue MMG’s contribution to nearby communities, as well as providing employment and development opportunities.
Strong stakeholder relations and support from local authorities are critical to our success.
Something to add?
MMG was founded in 2009, and our vision is to create a leading international mining company for a low-carbon future.
Today, our global portfolio supports copper, zinc and cobalt production- these products are critical to achieving the global decarbonisation and electrification targets.
Across our four operating sites in Australia, the DRC and Peru we employ over 10,000 employees and contractors. MMG is positioned as our Major Shareholder, China Minmetals’ leading international mining platform and our commitment to sustainability is critical to maintaining this positioning.
We are also the member of ICMM, the world’s leading organisation promoting sustainable development for our industry. I am also very proud of our commitment to local employment. Across our Lubumbashi and Kinshasa offices as well as our Kinsevere operation, the majority of our people are local..