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Digital DRC Mining Week: Power to the mines!

Last week’s Digital DRC Mining Week, a packed three days of live webinars with the who’s who of mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), included two dedicated sessions focusing on the demand for power by the mining sector.

The online event from 17-19 June was a great success, gathering experts ranging from the DRC Mining Minister, Prof Willy Kitobo Samsoni, to mining pioneers such as Barrick Gold’s Dr Willem Jacob and Pangea and Alphamin director Boris Kamstra. The Digital DRC Mining Week was organised after the live event was moved to 7-9 October in Lubumbashi due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On track to establish regulator

The first power-focused webinar during Digital DRC Mining Week was moderated by ESI Africa editor Nicolette Pombo-Van Zyl.

The strongest message that emerged from this discussion on power projects in the DRC was that the country needs a dedicated energy regulator to make it easier to develop generation projects, obtain financing and set tariffs.

“DRC’s energy sector lacks regulation and security for licences and concessions for power projects” was the opinion of Raphael Khalifa, CEO of Tembo Power based in Mauritius.

“Tembo Power runs 10 projects in Africa, all as IPPs in hydropower in the DRC, Kenya and Burundi, totalling half a billion dollars in investments. He added that the lack of a regulatory authority added to the risk and therefore also the cost of a project.

Serge Nawej Tshitembu, Main Advisor for Geosolar in the DRC agreed: “we are on track to establish an energy regulator which will make things a lot easier, creating more visibility and providing more stability to investors.”

He added that the majority of energy generated in DRC is renewable, mostly hydropower and that there was a lot of appetite from international investors, particularly the UK, for the DRC.

Both agreed that the current estimated demand of energy in DRC is around 4,200MW.

More power to the mines

The last session of Digital DRC Mining Week was another panel discussion focused on power in the DRC, this time in French on the theme of “The light at the end of the tunnel: Progress of energy projects in the DRC”. 

The DRC energy expert panellists were John Nsana Kanyoni, Directeur at Trade Power, Eric Monga Mumba, Chief Executive at Kipay Investments and Andy Sambwe, Energy Engineer at Kibali Goldmines. The session was moderated Elodie Delagneau, event director of DRC Mining Week.

The recordings of all the webinar sessions that took place during the Digital DRC Mining Week, from 17-19 June, can be accessed on: https://www.drcminingweek.com/recorded-sessions

Annemarie Roodbol
Annemarie Roodbol is a communications practitioner based in Cape Town.