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Whilst many stories coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in recent years have focussed on the political issues that country has faced, many are now seeing that the case for investing in the country is stronger than ever. The DRC contains significant supplies of a wide range of mineral resources, and is currently a major supplier of diamonds, copper, cobalt, gold, tantalum and tin. In advance of the mining week event in the DRC in June, Elisee Isheloke takes a close look at the investment case for the DRC.

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Posted by BYELONGO ELISEE ISHELOKE on 19 July 2022, 22:10 SAST

Introducing Mwamba Mining – bring mercury-free artisanal gold mining into the 21st century. When we think of mining we often think of large-scale projects, using new technology such as UAV surveys and a move towards automation. Yet artisanal and small-scale mining still continues in approximately 80 countries worldwide, with up to 40 million people working in the sector. That shouldn’t be surprising, we know mining is one of the most ancient industries known to man, and the barrier to entry as an artisanal miner is very low. Compare that to 7 million people worldwide involved in industrial mining. Mwamba mining, operating in Mwanza, Tanzania, is a young company that is looking to bring artisanal mining up to date in a way that could have global implications for this sector of the mining industry. Mwamba provides processing services to the artisanal miners of Mwanza, but critically, also as a broker and dealer for these miners in a regulated way that was previously difficult for the miners to access. Mwamba’s business model is to facilitate the connection of artisanal gold miners with international gold markets or institutional buyers. The founders of Mwamba Mining, Thomas and Eduard Cornew and Samuel Bahebe, came up with the idea for the company whilst studying at Dartmouth College’s Thayer School of Engineering. The seed of the company came from a project to develop an affordable mercury recapture device to be used by artisanal miners – mercury being widely used in the extraction of gold from ore within small-scale mining as it is both cheap and readily available. The UN has reported that artisanal mining can release up to 1400 tonnes of mercury into the environment per year, that’s about 40% of the world’s total. Faced with this information, the team realised that going back to first principles and seeking a mercury-free solution had to be the way forward.

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