Highway nightmare: DR Congo’s export route for high-value metals – by Annie Thomas and Lucien Kahozi (Yahoo News/AFP – March 9, 2022)


The 27 tonnes of copper slabs are securely lashed down on the back of Omar Rachidi’s tractor-trailer. Now all he has to do is drive the cargo to its destination. But that’s easier said than done.

Two thousand kilometres (1,200 miles) of road lie between southeast DR Congo’s mineral belt and the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam, from where the copper will be shipped to Asia.

And that highway is hard graft. “Sometimes it takes two weeks to do the trip,” says Rachidi, a 57-year-old Tanzanian, at the Chemaf metal processing plant at Lubumbashi in Haut-Katanga province.

“There are lots of queues, lots of tolls, lots of waiting at the border.” The Democratic Republic of Congo is the world’s biggest producer of cobalt — the key ingredient in modern batteries — and Africa’s biggest producer of copper.

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