Posted: ’25-JAN-07 08:00′ GMT – – Archive

The Eastern Congo is the “next big thing” in terms of tin deposits while resources of this metal are dwindling elsewhere in the world.

David Ellwood, chief executive officer of Metmar Limited, a JSE-listed commodities trading company, said at a briefing in Johannesburg that the area could be host of the world’s next biggest deposit, although it would take approximately two years to prove resources here.

This came as China was exploiting its tin resources at a fast pace and resources in South America were also diminishing.

Information on the DRC’s tin, tantalum and tungsten deposits is still available in Belgium, as the country conducted exploration in the area approximately 60 years ago, but one could not rely on historic information only, said Gregory Lotis, director of Metmar.

Lotis said informal mining going on in the area did indicate that these resources were present, but the extent of resources in the ground still had to be proven.

However, the company was convinced that there was a new, very important deposit in the ground – a typical example of the untapped resources present in Africa.

The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has just begun to formalise mining activities in the area that have been plagued by interstate and ethnic warfare in the past.

The previous unstable region is expected to benefit from the formalising and structuring efforts.

Metmar, a diversified commodities company, recently invested in Kivu Resources, a newly formed regional mining company in the DRC and Rwanda, which holds a number of assets in the these countries.

The company is part of a consortium consisting of EDIN Mining, a mining investment company in the British Virgin Islands, and Coronation Capital in Ireland, which acquired a 50% stake in Kivu Resources and will exercise an option to increase its shareholding to 70%, said Ellwood.

Lotis said the company (Metmar) secured the exclusive rights to market the metals produced from the deposits at this early stage as it saw huge potential in the “exciting project”.

Metmar will invest R5 million in the project, which does not represent a large investment for the company.

The consortium’s agreement with Kivu includes a management agreement with SAKIMA – a state owned company – to manage tin and tantalum production of small miners, a number of prospecting permits in the region and an option to acquire 80% shareholding in SAKIMA’s mining permits.

Chief executive of Kivu Resources Alan Smith said earlier the company would raise capital on an international stock exchange within the next 18 months in order to convert the “known deposits” into modern day resource and reserve statements.

Ellwood said that large mining houses were leaving the exploration and mining in the region to smaller entrepreneurs at the moment, but would most probably get involved at a higher cost later.

Reuters reported yesterday that the tin price surpassed yesterday’s highs, hitting US$12,500 per tonne, before coming down to US$12,400 before noon. The price continued to soar on the back of concerns over security of supply from Indonesia, where the government has issued regulations limiting refined tin exports.

You should also read: