On Christmas Eve 2008, in the depths of the global financial crisis, Katanga Mining (seen here) accepted a lifeline it could not refuse.
The Toronto-listed company had lost 97 per cent of its market value over the previous six months and was running out of cash.
Needing to finance its mining projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo - a country which has some of the world's richest reserves of copper and cobalt - Katanga's executives had sounded the alarm and made a string of calls for help.
Global credit was drying up, the copper market had fallen 70 per cent in just five months, and Congo - still struggling to recover from a civil war that killed some five million people -was the last place an investor wanted to be.
One company, though, was interested...