Take us back to when DRC Mining Week was first launched what was it like and what were your original objectives for the event?
Élodie Delagneau : DRC Mining Week is the result of 15 years of partnership and hard work between a local and international team dedicated to the growth and modernisation of the prosperous mining sector in the DRC.
Originating in the original iPAD DRC Mining & Infrastructure, which was first held in Kinshasa in 2004, the mining focus of the event became more important and we moved and rebranded the event to become DRC Mining Week in Lubumbashi in 2015. The first edition was a 2-day conference with less than 10 sponsors and exhibitors, including First Quantum. We were looking at creating a dialogue between operators and government to ensure the transparency and collaboration between public and private sector.
What was the reasoning behind launching the event?
ED : iPAD DRC Mining & Infrastructure was the first step to engage with key stakeholders and mining companies willing to put the DRC in the international mining arena. The team worked hard to engage and gain the trust and support of the national and local governments in order to build a long-term platform servicing the DRC industry. The main goal was to open the DRC to international investors to support the growth of existing operations as well as incentivising newcomers to grow their business in the region. Looking back on 15 years, we feel that the result was worth thechallenge and we are looking forward to extend the platform.
How has the event grown over the last 15 years?
ED : Three years after launching iPAD DRC Mining & Infrastructure, we looked at gaining more presence in territory and getting closer to the industry by establishing a “sister” event in Lubumbashi, with a more technical angle, offering our partners and international mining players a chance to be in the field and visit key mines in the region. We believe that this would be a game changer for the local and international industry.
In 2008, Katanga Mining Briefing was born with 20 exhibitors, mostly local. In 2019, a few months away from the show, we were already counting over 187 companies within our indoor and outdoor exhibition, with an international participation of more than 60%.
How are you celebrating your 15 year anniversary?
ED : What a milestone! For the 15th edition we have added an extra day for our partners and customers, so that can now enjoy a 3-day expo and conference, maximising their time in the DRC. We invite our existing participants and the ones that are still hesitating to join us for three days of expo, demos, cocktails, networking functions and hopefully leaving us with more business cards than they can handle. We would like to acknowledge Standard Bank, our Diamond Plus sponsors, venue and opening ceremony sponsor, highlighting this special anniversary for us.
What are the key and most memorable highlights over the years from the event?
ED : Going back over 15 years of achievement, we mostly shared laughter and smiles, but sometimes tears to make sure we deliver the quality and the scope of what the international mining arena expects and aligned the DRC to those standards. Developing from a platform welcoming a handful of sponsors, sponsors that we can still count on as key and faithful partners, into an international hub for the Copperbelt is one of the greatest highlight for the team.
We can proudly announce that we are expecting five international pavilions at the event this year, from South Africa, Zimbabwe, UK, France and Germany, bringing no less than 102 companies.
On another hand, we are excited to see that international institutions are opening
offices in the DRC, following successful experiences at DRC Mining Week. So you can now engage with the SACEEC locally and soon CEC from Zambia will join them.
What does the future hold in store for DRC Mining Week?
ED : DRC Mining Week evolved with the market, with its partners and the economy. The outlook for existing commodities and new promising ones, such as battery metals, is an encouraging sign that new players will come in to establish business ventures in the region. Some of our partners mention DRC Mining Week as the “lil” Mining Indaba for the region. We want to see and position our event as a deal maker platform and a trans border collaboration hub. Growing the size of the exhibition to allow more players to be part of the show will be a big focus for us, making sure that we can invite more international pavilion, such as China and India, the biggest traders in the country.
Anything you want to add?
ED : If you read this interview and experience a feeling of “FOMO”, don’t worry, there is still enough time to join the event with us and a guarantee for your business to settle in this promising region. Join the G7, including Barrick Gold Corp’s Dr Mark Bristow, for what is going to be the biggest expo in The Copperbelt.