By setting up a closed supply chain in the village of Kisengo for this valuable component, the transistor company has turned a handsome profit and boosted development for the mining community
The first time Kemet CEO Per Loof went to the village of Kisengo in the Democratic Republic of Congo he flew four hours in a helicopter, sitting atop jerry cans of fuel and landing on a never-used field – the freshly painted “H” visible amid the surrounding trees.
That was in 2011 and his goal was to partner with Mining Mineral Resources and pioneer the production of conflict-free tantalum from the eastern Congo. But before that could happen, they formed the Kisengo Foundation to oversee the construction of roads, a hospital and a school. Solar street lights were installed. Wifi was brought in and charging stations installed near the new water wells.
When Loof returns to Kisengo for his annual visit next month, he’ll fly comfortably in a plane, landing on a proper landing strip. And most crucially: none of the tantalum mined in Kisengo goes to finance illicit activities.
While the Trump administration has vowed to do away with Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank, which requires publicly listed companies to determine if their products contain minerals that have fuelled conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, claiming that compliance is too costly, Loof says his investment in meeting the rule has paid...