The Congolese Gold Mining Board of Kilomoto (OKIMO) has signed a contract with Swedish group Mineral Invest International (MII) AB t o explore for gold reserves and other minerals in north-eastern Democratic Republ i c of Congo (DRC), official sources told PANA on Monday.
Details of the contract, which was signed last weekend, have not been revealed. However, the Director General of the state-owned OKIMO, Willy Bafoa, said it cov e red major works ranging from exploration to the discovery of an economically cos t -effective deposit, eventually resulting in the establishment of a joint venture .
The contract also provides, based on a programme to be drawn up in collaboration with OKIMO and the Congolese mining ministry, for rehabilitation works on infra s tructure and social facilities in the local communities, namely, the building of
schools, hospitals and other health centres, water and electricity supply.
OKIMO is a state-owned company established in 1903 by the Belgian colonial power for gold extraction in the eastern province, precisely in Ituri, where it has a
vast mining estate of more than 83 square kilometre rich gold, platinum, lead, i r on and zinc, among others.
Protracted bloody armed conflicts which have plagued this part of DR Congo plung ed the company into trouble, a situation that has been exploited by artisanal op e rators and other private companies, generally of Western origin.
To resume its operations, OKIMO has set itself the goal of industrial production by 2013.
It has concluded joint venture agreements with a number of companies including K ibali Gold Mines, AngloGold Ashanti and Mwana Africa.