KINSHASA (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo is in talks with Malaysia Smelting Corporation over the construction of a foundry in the eastern Maniema province, the central African country’s mines minister said.
“Talks are very advanced with a big foreign mining company, Malaysia Smelting Corporation, to set up a foundry in Kalima,” Martin Kabwelulu told a mining conference on Monday.
Malaysia Smelting (MSC) is the world’s third largest supplier of tin metal, according to its website. The company was not available to comment.
MSC has in the past bought over 80 percent of eastern Congo’s tin but said in March it would stop buying any untraced Congolese minerals from April as part of efforts to prevent the sector unwittingly fuelling simmering local conflicts.
A number of traceability projects aimed at guaranteeing purchasers that the minerals they buy are conflict-free are starting to get off the ground, although progress has been slow.
Kabwelulu said he expected a joint venture accord with MSC to be signed this week with the aim of rehabilitating existing structures for an output of 500 tonnes in the start-up year.
He added that the plan was for 5,000-7,000 tonnes of the tin ore cassiterite to be collected from small-scale miners in Maniema, where traceability projects are more advanced than in North and South Kivu, the two other eastern mining provinces.