R&B Star Akon Signs Deal To Open Largest Mines In DR Congo
American-Senegalese R&B singer Akon has signed a deal to finance a copper and cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a joint venture with the state mining ministry. This was recently reported by Reuters after a contract was signed between the Akon and the country mines ministry.
Akon, who’s legal name is Aliaune Thiam signed the contract on December 14, through his US-registered firm called White Waterfall LLC of which he is also president and CEO. The signed contracts commits White Waterfall to paying a $2m signing bonus and financing a feasibility study of the Kimono reserve in Haut Katanga province. White Waterfall is a private equity fund that invests in mining companies that are not publicly traded, according to its website. The site does not list the company’s investors or any investments.
Akon, the Senegalese-American singer of 2006 hit "Smack That" has launched a number of business and philanthropic ventures across Africa in recent years, including a $6 billion futuristic city in Senegal. The 47-year-old is also behind Akoin, a crypto-currency that he says will power Akon City. According to Akon, futuristic Akon city will attract tourists and create thousands of jobs in the west African country. The U.S.-based firm KE International has also revealed that, it plans to start construction on the $6 billion project early this year.
The DRC is Africa’s top producer of copper and the world’s leading miner of cobalt, used in electric car batteries. In a 2009 report, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was estimated to have over $24 trillion in untapped mineral deposits, including the world's largest reserves of coltan and significant quantities of the world's cobalt. The United States Geological Survey also estimates that the DRC has 1 million tons of lithium resources.
While its poverty rate has fallen slightly over the past two decades, particularly in rural areas, the DRC nonetheless remains one of the poorest countries in the world. In 2018, 72% of the population, especially in the North West and Kasaï regions, was living in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 a day.
With this new development from Akon, hopes are high, as development and new jobs will be created within the country. According to reuters, White Waterfall LLC, Akon’s media team and the director general of state miner SODIMICO of Democratic Republic of Congo did not respond to a request for comment on the new deal.
Sources used for our report: https://www.reuters.com
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