Zimbabwean businessman John Bredenkamp this week formed a joint venture project with Gecamines, the state-owned mining company in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to mine cobalt and copper in and around the DRC’s southern Katanga province, the ‘Financial Gazette’ reported. The Zimbabwean tycoon reportedly hopes to invest US $50 million in the venture, named Kababankola Mining Company (KMC). Bredenkamp would control a majority 80 percent stake in KMC through his firm called Tremalt Limited. The tycoon’s partners in Tremalt Limited are Collin Blythe-Wood, who will be managing director of KMC, and another businessman, Gary Webster.
Blythe-Wood said the DRC government would receive 68 percent of the profits generated by KMC.
Asked how the joint venture would operate profitably when giving most of its profits to the DRC government, Blythe-Wood said the nature of the investment was such that it would operate profitably. He rejected charges that his firm had any political links, saying the project was purely a business investment. “The venture is falling within the framework of the policy of the DRC government to realise the extensive mineral wealth of the country and to promote and raise living standards of the people of the DRC through job creation and training in new technology and processes”, he said.
Mining sources quoted by the newspaper said Gecamines, which has debts totalling US $1 billion, has been run down by successive governments in the DRC. Blythe-Wood conceded that Gecamines was facing problems but insisted that the KMC project would be run professionally.
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