On April 3, Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) newly elected President Felix Tshisekedi and Barrick Gold Corp.’s Executive Chairman John Thornton confirmed their partnership to develop the country’s gold mining industry in a meeting there during the president’s state visit to the United States. Barrick operates Kibali in the DRC, one of the world’s 10 largest gold mines, and along with its joint venture partner AngloGold Ashanti, is one of the major investors in the country, the company said. Barrick added that it has an extensive exploration program designed to find and develop more world-class orebodies in the country.

In a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, President Tshisekedi said that while the DRC was potentially the wealthiest country on earth in terms of natural resources, it remains one of its poorest. It was his administration’s key priorities to effect economic and financial reforms and development with help of the international community, especially the USA.

After the meeting, Thornton said he had been encouraged by the president’s vision of attracting foreign investment and supporting the development of the DRC’s mining industry in a spirit of partnership.

“As the value leader in the global gold sector, Barrick offers the DRC peerless exploration, technical and financial support and through Kibali has proved its commitment to the country, the people and its local partners,” Thornton said. “We look forward to continue making a significant and growing contribution to the DRC’s economy and to unlocking the enormous value of its mineral potential.”