Who are you, Simon Tuma Waku?
As a mining civil engineering graduate from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, I worked in mining and gas both in the Congo and South Africa until I was appointed Minister of Mines in 2001. In 2002, the Mining Code and Regulations were promulgated. This is one of my proudest achievements because the Code is balanced: it is both attractive to investors and guarantees tax and parafiscal revenue for the State. It would be dangerous to upset this balance. When my ministerial mandate ended, I used my experience to return to the mining sector in senior management, first as a director then as a president. This is how I became a director of the Fédération des Entreprises du Congo (FEC) and then National Vice-President in charge of the mining sector. From this privileged viewpoint, I can provide support and backing to the Chamber of Mines.
Tell us a little about the Congo
My country is huge, as you know. It stretches over 2.35 million km2 with a population of nearly 70 million and holds phenomenal riches. The Congo River is the second largest river in the world by length, discharge and depth. We have one of the largest equatorial forests in the world and exceptional mineral resources (the world’s largest reserves of cobalt, second for copper, seventh for gold). In 2014 the Congo became the leading African producer of copper ahead of Zambia despite facing huge setbacks, not in the least a dire shortage of electricity. How ironic for a country that has one of the world’s largest hydropower potentials.
The Chamber of Mines
The Chamber of Mines, an association established within the FEC, is a grouping of Congolese mining companies. It has the dual function of defending the interests of its members in a collective and organized manger and informing and training its members in best practices in techniques and social and environmental responsibility. This discussion and meeting point operates on a very tight budget but has a considerable number of dynamic volunteers. The Chamber was one of the driving forces behind the DRC’s recognition and more importantly, compliance, with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This is something the Chamber of Mines, as much as the Republic, is legitimately proud of.
What is the MIASA?
It stands for the Mining Industry Association of Southern Africa (http://www.miasa.org.za/). The Congo’s Chamber of Mines is part of this association and I was invited to be its representative there a few years ago. The MIASA’s mission is to create a favourable environment for the industry to prosper responsibly. The MIASA approached the Chamber of Mines to take its presidency for two years starting September 2015. It’s not only an honour, it is also a huge responsibility and recognition for the work done by the Chamber. It’s going to be an exciting two years!
Article publié dans Mining and Business n°3 – Novembre/Décembre 2015