London-listed miner ENRC, controlled by a group of Kazakh billionaires, is eager to improve its reputation as details of the nature of its deals – particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – continue to emerge.
Controversy surrounds ENRC’s (Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation) dealings with Israeli businessman Dan Gertler – aka Mr. Grab – who “has become synonymous with ‘grabbing and flipping’ mining concessions in the war ravaged African nation.
Gertler, 38, used his relationship with DRC president Joseph Kabila and Kabila’s now late adviser Augustin Katumba Mwanke to bag mining projects “by stripping from others if necessary, only to sell them on at great profit,” according to reports.
ENRC was forced to pay out $1.25 billion to Canadian mining firm First Quantum at the start of the year after the DRC government expropriated First Quantum’s copper projects in the country only to sell them onto ENRC via Gertler.
According to some estimates the $1.25 billion was only about half the value some analysts put on First Quantum’s smelter, mine and exploration projects before the DRC government and Gertler stepped in.
The Mail Online reports ENRC’s chairman Mehmet Dalman personally flew to the DRC to “clear-the-air” with Gertler and has now vowed to only deal directly with governments and not middlemen.
Last week The World Gold Council published its conflict-free standard, which aims to restrict production of the precious metal in places where it already fuels or may trigger conflicts and human rights violations. It follows similar rules released in August by the US Securities and Exchange Commission particularly related to the copper, gold and industrial mineral rich DRC.