* Consortium would refurbish Musoshi copper mine
* Deal would include deepwater port, wastewater plant
* Study of mine's copper reserves due in two weeks
By Katrina Manson
LUBUMBASHI, Democratic Republic of Congo, Oct 30 (Reuters) -
A consortium of South Korean companies will seek a
minerals-for-infrastructure deal in Democratic Republic of Congo
that could be worth $1 billion, Congolese and South Korean
officials told Reuters late on Friday.
The proposed deal -- involving refurbishment of a copper
mine and construction of an Atlantic deepwater port -- would
bolster South Korea's bid to secure long-term access to metals
while speeding Congo's development, South Korean ambassador to
Congo Kim Sung-chul said.
"We were more poor than Congo in the 1960s, now we are
chairing the G20. This change was possible only thanks to
support from outside and we think it's high time we repay that,"
Kim is leading a delegation of executives from South Korean
firms Samsung (005930.KS), Hyundai (005380.KS), Bosco, Daewoo,
and Taejoo Synthesis Steel to Congo mining sites.
He said a consortium of South Korean companies, including
Taejoo, was seeking to form a joint-venture with Congo's
state-owned miner Sodimco to refurbish the disused Musoshi
copper mine at a cost of $300 million.
He said the deal would also involve South Korea's Eximbank
loaning $150-$200 million to South Korean firms to fund a
wastewater treatment plant in Kinshasa to serve 2 million people
-- the cost of which would be recouped from future revenues from
He added that South Korea had also selected Hyundai, Bosco
and STX to build a deep-sea port at Banana on Congo's Atlantic
coast, which would cost $500 million and take four years to
complete once work starts.
Some $370 million of the cost of the port would be recouped
by a build-operate-transfer deal, he said, and South Korea is
also asking Congo to provide mineral resources to cover the
remaining $130 million.
The governor of Congo's minerals-rich southern Katanga
province confirmed the mine deal proposal.
"They so far have Musoshi mine. It's a very good mine, a
very big mine," Governor Moise Katumbi told Reuters.
Katumbi said the mine -- now waterlogged and in ill-repair
-- was once run by a Japanese consortium and closed during the
global financial crisis that sent copper prices tumbling and put
300,000 Congolese out of work.
Seul Chul-hee, head of Taejoo in Congo said Congo's Sodimico
was likely to take a 35 percent stake in the mine, and South
Korean companies the remainder.
"Now we are making the consortium - it is a big group," he
said, adding he hoped Congo would also suggest other mine sites
in future in exchange for which South Korea could build
small-scale hydroelectric plants.
He said a study due in two weeks was likely to show the mine
contained less than previous reserve estimates, which stood at
1.4 million tonnes -- a factor that could affect coming
negotiations over the deal.
The group also visited Anvil Mining, in which Swiss metals
trader Trafigura has a 36 percent stake, and Glencore-controlled
Katanga Mining, but officials gave no details of any potential
deals with the two.
The talks come after Congo agreed a $9 billion
infrastructure-for-mines deal with China in 2008 that was later
reduced to $6 billion following concern the country was taking
on too much debt.
(Editing by Richard Valdmanis)