Mwana Says $100 Million Needed to Revive Congo Diamond Mine

Mwana Africa Plc said it will cost almost $100 million to realize plans to raise production at its venture with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s state-owned diamond miner more than 10-fold.

The Societe Miniere de Bakwanga, or Miba, has the potential to increase annual diamond output to as many as 8 million carats from 500,000 carats now, Mwana Chief Executive Officer Kalaa Mpinga said in an interview with Bloomberg TV Africa that will be broadcast Saturday. Mwana owns 20 percent of Miba, while the central African state’s government controls the rest.

The operation “will have to change its production model significantly” to target deposits found in kimberlite rock, Mpinga said. “There’s going to have to be a shift from alluvial mining,” he said, referring to deposits found in gravel and sand. “We are confident that it has a large resource and that it can be done.”

Mwana, which is based in London and also mines nickel, gold and diamonds in countries including Zimbabwe and South Africa, is in talks with Congo to recapitalize Miba, an asset that produced an average of 6 million carats of diamonds annually from 2002 to 2006, Mpinga said.

Congo, the world’s biggest cobalt producer, needs investment to help rebuild infrastructure damaged by two civil wars from 1996 to 2003.

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