DRC miner Gécamines rolls out new corporate structure

The board of directors of Gécamines has implemented a new corporate structure including a more decentralized organization and a drive to promote a new generation of younger managers.

The Democratic of Congo’s (DRC) state-run miner said the reorganization will not result in any job losses but may include the redeployment of some staff from one area to eventually work in another division of either Gécamines or one of its partners.

The board has already made a series of appointments of new directors and adopted a new organizational chart, it said, and is working to complete the changes by the end of 2018. It did not provide further details of the new structure, which it said was based on the goal of empowered, integrated and autonomous productive units.

The plan was first announced on June 14 during DRC mining week by Gécamines’ chairman Albert Yuma and followed an internal audit led by consultancy firm E&Y.

The audit has taken three years to complete, a process that was hastened in the past several months amid a revival in the prices of copper and cobalt, key minerals produced in the DRC.

Cobalt prices in particular have remained strong amid firm demand for the raw material for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles. Prices hit near-decade highs recently although they have slipped a little lower since, with Metal Bulletin’s benchmark assessment for both low- and high-grade cobalt settling at $39-40.85 per lb, in-warehouse, on Friday July 4, down from $39.70-41 per lb at the start of the week.

The overhaul will also see Gécamines open up its management to younger executives, promoted mainly within the company.

“Greater functional mobility will be needed to ensure a better allocation of the workforce to the needs of the company. Some employees included in the operational reserve will have the opportunity to be redeployed in new jobs in future projects specific to Gécamines or those of partners,” the company said.

In June, Yuma said that the company could no longer have lines of command or operation with five times more employees than were justified.

“A reserve will therefore be created in which some of our employees will be paid, who for an indefinite period will leave the operational structure, pending their reinstatement in our future factories,” he said at the time.

“We will retain in the operations and management of the company only the personnel needed to achieve the objectives, where the current excess, far from generating additional value, is a hindrance to our activities,” he added.

Gécamines will be the first company of the DRC’s mining portfolio to overhaul its management, a move Yuma said is expected to pave the way for other Congolese companies.

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