Speaking in front of a crowd of several hundred people in downtown Toronto’s convention centre on Sunday, noted investor Rick Rule sounded a bullish note about mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The central African country has been riven by horrific violence, said Rule, chief executive of Sprott U.S. Holdings Inc., but it holds vast deposits of high-grade copper, cobalt and other minerals. Still, he acknowledged there are risks.
“What could go wrong? We don’t have enough time” to answer that, Rule told the audience, gathered for the mining conference hosted by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.
It’s a question that is attracting much reflection from mining executives looking for the next place to explore or build a mine, many of whom now are flush with funds to replenish their project pipeline, as a result of a surge in the price of a variety of metals.
At the same time, many countries with nascent economies, such as the DRC, are rethinking some of the deals that were cut with mining companies when commodity prices were struggling. Now that prices have risen, many are looking for ways to increase their share of the pie.