The boss of a tin mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo…
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The boss of a tin mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo…

The boss of a tin mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo… has claimed it will be a catalyst for development in the war-torn country.

Alphamin will be the first large commercial tin mine in the east of the country when production starts at Bisie in North Kivu in 2019.

Boris Kamstra, CEO at Alphamin, said the mine would produce conflict-free tin, providing 700 jobs during the construction phase and around 450 positions during operations.

“Already the positive impact of Alphamin is leading to vastly improved governance, security, safety and increased economic activity in the Walikale region of North Kivu,” he said.

“The catalytic nature of Alphamin’s commitment to, and investment in, the post-conflict region of the eastern DRC will bring synergies with other humanitarian, stabilisation and development funding and initiatives.”

A school has been built, roads upgraded and a mobile phone network installed.

Anselme Paluku Kitakya, North Kivu minister of mines, electricity, SMEs, industry and hydrocarbons, said the mine would double the DRC’s tin exports. “The mine holds significant value for the region as it brings local and regional employment while adding to the region’s infrastructure and social well-being,” he said.

The mine is located in a part of the country that was controlled by armed groups in the past but action by the government, including the presence of two army battalions nearby, has diminished their power.

Kamstra said the region was still blighted by its association with conflict minerals, which have been used to fund militias through the work of small-scale artisanal miners. “The image that it is a lawless place remains,” he said.

“Our metal will be very easy to verify that it’s conflict-free. We will be able to provide source of origin all the way to the smelter.”

Kamstra said testing revealed the tin content of the mine’s ore to be 4.5%, compared to an average of 1%. “The Bisie tin deposit is one of the largest and most significant tin deposits in the world,” he said.

Construction has begun but Alphamin is seeking to raise $152m to complete the mine.

Tin became critical in international supply chains when the electronics industry began using it in place of lead in solder from 2006, due to health concerns.

Written by: Will Green
Publication: Supply Management Magazine