Rapper Akon signs deal to finance copper-cobalt mine in the DRC

A company led by American-Senegalese singer Akon has signed a deal to help finance a copper and cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to a contract published by the mines ministry.

The aforementioned document released by the ministry cites a US-registered firm White Waterfall LLC, of which Akon (legal name Aliaune Thiam) is president and CEO.

White Waterfall is a private equity fund that invests in privately-owned mining companies, according to its website.

Dated December 14 and signed by Akon, the contract commits White Waterfall to paying a US$2 million signing bonus and financing a feasibility study of the Kimono reserve in Haut Katanga province.

The DRC is Africa’s top copper producer and the world’s leading miner of cobalt – a key mineral used in electric vehicle batteries – although the country continues to face well-documented issues related to human rights abuses at mines and conflict mining.

Grammy nominated star Akon has launched several business and philanthropic ventures across Africa in recent years, including a $6 billion futuristic city in Senegal, a cryptocurrency called Akoin and in 2014 he started a project called Akon Lighting Africa – which provides electricity in 15 countries.