AMBASSADOR INTERVIEW: “If the DRC gets this right it will become the largest mining economy in Africa and with this bring prosperity to the peoples of the DRC”
Exclusive interview with Dr Tony Harwood, President and CEO at Montero Mining and Exploration Ltd and event ambassador for the upcoming DRC Mining Week in Lubumbashi in October.
Thank you for this opportunity, please tell us more about your organisation and the work that you do in the mining industry.
Montero is a junior explorer focussed on finding battery metals in Africa. I founded and listed the company on the TSX Venture exchange. I am also a non-executive director of private and public companies largely operating in Africa. In all I have listed 3 companies over the last 10 years all of which operate in Africa from a base in Africa.
What in your view do you regard as the highlights for DRC’s mining sector and community during this past year?
The highlights this last year have been seeing the progress made on some very exciting mining and exploration projects, notably developments of the world class Kamoa-Kakula copper-cobalt project and Kipushi zinc project, also the development of the high grade Bisie Tin project as well as seeing the gold production being achieved at the giant Kibali gold mine. A highlight also has to be the implementation of the new mining law which has caused concerns with existing investors and potentially new foreign investors to the DRC.
Is there a particular project/success story that you have been involved in that you are particularly proud of? Tell us how it changed lives…
Between 2006 and 2009 I was the President and CEO of Africo Resources Ltd. a company trying to develop a high grade coper-cobalt project in Katanga. During the exploration and development period we entered into various cooperative community development programs with local villages and communities surrounding the project. These programs largely revolved around agriculture and the company assisted in setting up community co-operatives for growing vegetables to be sold to the company and the surrounding communities. In addition we also set up health screening initiatives with the DRC health administration in and around our project area.
In 2007 to 2008 we also distributed 328 wheelchairs for children in the DRC. These had been designed for use in the country and had thick rubber tyres and this brought children a new mobility enabling them to get to school and participating in the communities where they lived. Africo won an award for this at the Mines and Money conference in London. More info here.
What in your view are the main challenges in the industry for 2020?
There has been a slow-down in the global economy, which means that metal prices are depressed, and the advent of the Coronavirus has also exacerbated this bringing many countries into a negative growth and some in recession. Investment appetite in the resources sector is low and investment hurdles have been raised which means that only the best investment jurisdictions will receive much needed investment for growth.
And what opportunities in the DRC mining sector are you most excited about currently?
The development of the giant Kamoa-Kakula copper-cobalt project will open up the Katanga province and encourage further exploration and development in this area and the country. Its success will aid greatly in the development of the DRC mining sector not only from a production perspective but also by increasing employment, skills transfers, taxes paid, infrastructure development (road, rail, power) both in the DRC and in neighbouring countries all in all enabling prosperity to the DRC and the region.
What is your vision for the sector?
Good mining legislation with investor incentives brings local and foreign capital, this brings tremendous growth and if the DRC gets this right it will become the largest mining economy in Africa and with this bring prosperity to the peoples of the DRC. The DRC is a mining country with many skills and expertise and the vision is to build on this to a global giant.
Looking ahead to 2020, what is on your calendar that you can share with us?
Montero will continue to look at battery metals but other companies I am a director for are looking at gold and particularly in the DRC, we are watching the DRC investment space very carefully.
What surprises or delights you most about this sector?
The relationships we make with local communities added to the grit and determination of most miners and explorers. I have seen how mining operations have changed local communities in a very positive way.
What is your message to current and future investors in DRC’s mining sector?
To current investors – discuss current changes to the mining legislation in a positive manner working with government for a win-win outcome. To those new to the DRC come and visit and a great introduction is this conference held in Katanga, the heart of the mining sector in the DRC. Witness the enthusiasm shown by the mining community in the DRC.
DRC Mining Week celebrated 15 years of gathering the mining community in the country last year. Why would you consider it valuable to attend DRC Mining Week?
Network and find investment opportunities, this will be the best opportunity you will have all year, don’t miss it as it will yield positive results in your understanding of the sector in the DRC and its opportunities and challenges.
What will be your message at the event this year?
The DRC is a global mining giant in the making, if you are serious about mining or engaged in the services sector you have to be here if you are looking to grow your business.
Anything you would like to add?
See you in Lubumbashi!