Alrosa says Deal with DRC has "Vast Potential"September 15, 21
(IDEX Online) - Alrosa is to help revive the only commercial diamond mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
It has signed a memorandum (MOU) of understanding with Bakwanga, known as MIBA, to explore, mine and process diamonds together. The company said it had been in discussion with DRC for several years.
"This document starts our collaboration with DRC, which we see as having a vast potential," said a spokeswoman.
"Alrosa is open to new joint ventures for diamond prospecting and exploring in DRC. We are ready to cooperate with the DRC in the development of its diamond industry in full accordance with the best global standards and practices.
At its peak in 1961 MIBA, the Bakwanga Mining Company, produced 16m carats, but it has been badly hit by two wars, widespread corruption, embezzlement, poor management and infrastructure, crippling debt, unpaid workers' wages and a three-year closure following the 2008 financial crash. Current output is estimated at just 500,000 carats a year.
DRC was the world's fourth-largest diamond producer by volume in 2019 (14.2m carats) but the vast majority of diamonds are produced by artisanal miners using primitive tools in dangerous and unregulated conditions.