DR Congo on Friday formally opened the Kibali mine, one of the country’s largest gold mines located in the far northeast part of the country.
According to the news article by New Vision, the formal opening ceremony of the mine was held in the Province-Orientale region and was attended by Mining Minister Martin Kabwelul, even though production at the mine started in the third quarter of 2013.
Kibali Goldmines, which develops the mine, is jointly owned by South African mining firm Randgold Resources, South Africa’s AngloGold Ashanti the Congolese state, with the companies holding 45% interest each, and the state the remaining 10%.
The project, which is worth approximately $2.5 billion, is said to have created 7,000 jobs, 80% of which are held by Congolese.
Kibali Goldmines said it expects to produce 550,000 ounces (15.6 tonnes) of gold this year.
The company estimates that the mine holds reserves of at least 11.6 million ounces (329 tonnes), which is enough to maintain production until 2031.
Despite the popular misconception that DR Congo is a poor country due to its population’s poor living standard, the country has immense reserves of gold, copper and cobalt, as well as diamonds, nickel, iron, manganese, uranium, bauxite and cassiterite,
Control over the mineral-rich areas has been one of the core reasons for the bloody conflicts that have raged in eastern DR Congo for decades.