Congo, the Democratic Republic of the - Country Commercial Guide
Democratic Republic of the Congo - Mining and Minerals
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The DRC has substantial untapped gold, cobalt, and high-grade copper reserves, but equally significant security risks accentuated by a lack of robust infrastructure.  Cobalt, one of the key metals to produce electric vehicles, places the DRC in a strategic position for the energy transition.  In 2022, the DRC was the world’s largest cobalt miner with a production of 130,000 tons, or nearly 68 percent of the world’s cobalt.  The DRC was the fourth largest producer of industrial diamonds in 2022 with a production of 4.3 million carats.  The DRC has globally significant lithium deposits.  There are no active lithium mines in the DRC as of 2022, but multiple projects are in development.  Lithium deposits include the Manono-Kitolo mine, which formerly produced tin and coltan until it was closed in late 1982.

The country boasts some of the highest quality copper reserves globally, with some of the mines estimated to contain grades above 3 percent, significantly higher than the global average of 0.6 - 0.8 percent.  International mining companies attracted by high-grade and low-cost mines are increasingly attracted to the DRC’s copper belt in the southern part of the country.  DRC’s gold mining sector is also witnessing renewed interest from mining companies.  In 2021 the production of mining resources increased from 10,000 tons to nearly 1 million.  The Congolese mining sector is on track to maintain the same level of production of its main metals this year and do even better than last year for copper, despite the unprecedented negative shocks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • Copper ore and nickel ore mining
  • Gold ore mining
  • Cobalt ore mining
  • Lithium ore mining and extraction
  • Mining equipment leasing and financing.
  • Power generation & transmission


With total mineral wealth estimated in the tens of trillions of dollars, the DRC offers opportunities for American firms with a high tolerance for risk and familiarity operating in complex or fragile environments.  Despite ongoing conflict in the east of the country, the potential for political instability, and unstable commodity prices, mine operators continue to invest in their operations in anticipation of improved market conditions and to maintain operational footholds in this lucrative environment.  The mineral resource deposits that have been studied and documented and are currently being exploited are concentrated in eastern DRC and part of central DRC, in the former Kasai region.  Analysis of the mining registry data indicates only 11 percent of the national territory is covered by mining activities with 3,053 different permits granted.  Most of this area has yet to be discovered through geological and mining research.


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