Media playback is not supported on this device Hunter Biden’s company ‘helped parent company buy mine in Congolese mining boom’
A US private equity firm owned by the son of former US Vice President Joe Biden has helped facilitate the purchase of a Congolese cobalt mine, one of the richest mines in the world, for $3.8bn (£2.8bn).
Golden Triangle Resources Limited (GTRL) bought a small Congolese company and a controlling stake in Duluth Metals Company (DMC), according to a recent report by the watchdog group Global Witness.
DMC controls the Ovaibou mine – the second largest proven cobalt resource in the world – and has partnered with Thiokol Corporation, a major American producer of nuclear reactors, to produce cobalt.
Golden Triangle Resources said it acquired a 50% interest in Minvi Explorations, which was in an agreement to divest that stake to DMC.
It declined to comment further.
Golden Triangle Resources is a private equity firm which invests in development companies.
Its venture capital team is led by Wesley Bozeman, the son of Joe Biden.
Cobalt is used in nuclear reactors for as well as electric car batteries.
It is also seen as an increasingly important material to energy producers as the sector develops.
Global Witness reported that in its report, it alleges that 40% of all cobalt produced worldwide in the past five years went to “conflict mineral” producers – mines controlled by armed groups – like Ovaibou and DMC.
Ovaibou is located in North Kivu province in eastern Congo and DMC’s interests include a railway line to ferry the minerals to Port-Gentil for export.
Global Witness urged Investec, the current custodian of the shares, to stop “securitising” DMC shares by transferring them into Golden Triangle Resources.
There has been no comment from Investec on the issue.
Investec has been approached for a response.
Global Witness believes that investment firms “typically engage with foreign, state-owned companies when financing projects” and that such activity “could reduce their own exposure to political risk by seeking commercial exposure to those projects”.
But it called on Investec to “explore alternatives for the future of the company”.
Goldman Sachs, which also owns a stake in DMC, declined to comment on the issue.
It described its involvement in DMC as “a quiet investment in a Ugandan company”.
Goldman also said it “will be pleased to see that current shareholder Warway – already the largest shareholder in DMC – has made the commitment to the Congolese people to build inclusive mining communities, and to ensure that DMC is not exploited by conflict entities for mineral funds”.
Global Witness has joined forces with Global Witness, CODER – the Centre for Conflict Mineral Monitoring – and CIVIC – the Centre for International Private Enterprise to launch a petition on its website.
It wants to raise awareness of global conflict minerals and also to call on the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Investec to put the best interests of Congolese communities first in relation to the deal.