DRC unveils minerals-for-jobs deal with China

The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (RC) today revealed the details of its historic mining agreement with China.

In a statement to Parliament in Kinshasa, Infrastructure Minister Pierre Lumbi described the deal as "a vast Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of our country's basic infrastructure".

Mr. Lumbi said:  "This contract is the foundation on which the growth of our economy is going to be built.

"It is going to generate tens of thousands of jobs directly or indirectly, with some 10,000 persons being employed directly in the first phase.

"It will give a firm boost to the rise of agricultural, mining, and industrial production of our country.  It is going to improve the purchasing power of the populations by reducing the costs of transit between the areas of production and the areas of consumption."

The Minister estimated that the deal will have an internal profitability rate of at least 19 per cent.  Its total initial value is $9.25 billion, of which $3.25 billion will be mining investment and the remaining $6 billion is earmarked for infrastructure development.

Mr. Lumbi declared: "This contract is undoubtedly the best which the country has ever signed with foreign investors."

But he emphasised: "It is only one aspect of a vast programme of reconstruction and upgrading of the infrastructures of our country.  This huge programme includes a number of other programmes financed by our own funds, by the World Bank, the European Union, the African Development Bank, Great Britain and India."

The agreement with China creates a mining joint-venture between Gecamines, the DRC's own mining entity, and the Chinese in the form of a company in which the Chinese hold 68 per cent of the shares and Gecamines 32 per cent. Mr Lumbi said that 150 Chinese engineers and technical experts are already in DRC to start work on the project.

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Editors' notes:

The infrastructure aspects of the deal include:

3,215 kilometres of railways

3,300 kilometres of asphalted roads

2,738 kilometres of beaten earth roads

550 kilometres of urban roadways

A 450-bed hospital in Kinshasa, 31 smaller hospitals and 145 health centres around the DRC

Two hydro-electric dams and two electricity distribution networks

Two vocational training centres

And two airports

For further information please contact:

Roger Carroll/ Helen Tarbet (Bell Pottinger):

00 44 (0) 207 861 3232

00 44 (0) 7831 154 364