This resource page is designed to provide an update on the efforts to end the conflict minerals trade that finances numerous brutal armed groups in eastern Congo, note remaining challenges, and suggest strategies for encouraging lasting peace. Read More »
Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act has been a primary driver of corporate and regional policy change on conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo), helping create an economic incentive for ending exploitative mining practices and reforming the region’s minerals sector. However, Dodd-Frank 1502 is only one component in a broad set of peacebuilding tools, and it must be accompanied by other initiatives to advance development of a responsible minerals trade that improves the livelihoods and security of people living in eastern Congo. These changes toward peace must include government and corporate responses, programs directly supporting the livelihoods of community members in eastern Congo, and full implementation of the regional peace agreement known as the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework in a way that is truly inclusive of those most affected by it.
This resource page is designed to provide an update on the efforts to end the conflict minerals trade that finances numerous brutal armed groups in eastern Congo, note remaining challenges, and suggest strategies for encouraging lasting peace.
For more information, please see the additional resources below - and check out the letter published by Congolese civil society members here and joint open letter here.
For nearly two decades, the war and widespread illicit exploitation of natural resources in eastern Congo has subjected Congolese citizens to a humanitarian crisis that desperately needs to be addressed. Broad reform of the minerals sector is part of a comprehensive strategy to end violence in eastern Congo, and Dodd-Frank 1502 is one catalytic component of that effort.
As part of the wider Wall Street reform effort, Dodd-Frank 1502 ordered the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to develop a rule that requires companies to find out where their minerals come from. The rule, adopted in 2012, aims to interrupt long-standing practices of supply chain opacity, replacing them with mandatory corporate transparency, due diligence, and public awareness about four minerals that are known to fuel unspeakable violence in Congo and the surrounding region. The law has provided an economic incentive for change, which has led to increased security for many mining communities once directly controlled or terrorized by armed groups.
However, governments, donors, and companies have yet to deliver or finalize many of the other critical reforms necessary to end the conflict minerals trade.
Three main areas of reform are needed:
Livelihood programs for mining communities
Increased transparency and due diligence
Governance and mining reforms in Congo and the region
Without attention to these three categories, Dodd-Frank 1502 and any other complementary initiatives to end the conflict minerals trade in eastern Congo will be incomplete.
Livelihood Projects for Mining Communities
Dodd-Frank 1502 is making it less profitable for armed groups to illegally trade minerals in Congo and the region, helping begin the shift of the economic environment in eastern Congo and the region away from benefiting armed groups and towards creating incentives for a peaceful trade. Although miners who worked in conflict mines were subject to immense harassment, debt slavery, and attacks by armed groups and military officers, the shifts away from conflict mining also mean that many miners have had to move to other areas to try to earn a livelihood, while the responsible minerals trade slowly develops. From the beginning, human rights and mineral reform advocates have called for livelihood programs for these miners to complement Dodd-Frank 1502, but the programs have been too slow in coming to the ground in Congo. They must be boosted now. This includes:
Increasing capacity-building and micro-finance programs for artisanal mining cooperatives in eastern Congo
Finalizing reforms to the minerals sector
Respecting the rights of artisanal miners and ensuring they are given access to a legal, profitable market for their minerals
Significantly enhancing programs to develop alternative sources of income, such as high-value agriculture
Increased Transparency and Due Diligence in Tin, Tantalum, Tungsten, and Gold Supply Chains
The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has spearheaded a new regional minerals certification process. Certification is a means to the goals of transparency, compliance, and rule of law. The process has been slow and must advance with more expediency for Congo to see outside investment and experience benefits on the ground.
Retail companies are increasingly engaged in developing positive supply chain management tools, joining multi-stakeholder groups to advance the tools and policies for conflict-free minerals sourcing, and taking an increasing interest in supporting peace in the Great Lakes region. This evolution is largely due to Dodd-Frank 1502’s disclosure requirements and has positive implications for numerous industries and minerals-rich regions around the world.
Governance and Mining Reforms in Congo and the Region
Governance reform in the region’s mining sector must be strengthened, and we must not lose momentum for meaningful, lasting change. Great Lakes governments, particularly Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, must be at the forefront of these efforts, but the U.S. and other governments, international financial institutions, private investors, mining companies, consumers, and other international actors all have roles to play. They should work closely with Congolese mining communities and regional stakeholders to improve mine inspections in Congo and the ICGLR minerals certification process, increase meaningful support to Congolese miners, and invest in conflict-free mines, particularly for gold.
In large part due to Dodd-Frank 1502 and related reform efforts, there is progress toward the development of a conflict-free minerals sector in Congo. There are laws in place to prevent multinational companies from having opaque supply chains, and an increasing number of mines are being validated as conflict-free. Dodd-Frank 1502 is only one part of the solution, but if it is undermined or dispensed with, companies will return to a climate of impunity for profiting from violent conflict and lucrative minerals will continue to enrich warlords in Congo.
Cooperative efforts by student activists like Roxanne Rahnama and socially-conscious companies like Intel indicate a sustained and growing interest in the conflict-free movement and exemplify its cross-cutting nature. Read More »
On September 24th, the Canadian House of Commons will hold a Second Reading vote on Bill C-486: The Conflict Minerals Act. Bills like C-486, Provision 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act in the U.S., and legislation proposed by the Eurpoean Union indicate the growing global movement dedicated to eliminating the flow of conflict minerals. In addition to these positive steps, Canada, along with other important donor governments, must also step up their support for mining reform efforts and livelihood projects in Congo. Read More »
On July 27, 2014, The Enough Project participated in roundtable discussion at the Jewelers of America (JA) New York Show, co-hosted by JA and the National Retail Federation (NRF), to discuss the need for responsible gold sourcing from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Currently, the illegal mining and trade of minerals, particularly gold, fuel terrible violence and suffering for the Congolese people. The discussion centered on industry experiences and practical tools to build on current corporate initiatives for responsible sourcing and development in Congo and the Great Lakes Region. Read More »
In important developments last Thursday, on 31 July, Congolese authorities cleared all charges leveled against General Amisi Kumba, former commander of the Congolese land forces. Amisi was suspended on 22 November 2012 following accusations made by the United Nations Group of Experts that he “oversees a network distributing hunting ammunition for poachers and armed groups, including Raïa Mutomboki” and Nyatura. The Rwandan government further asserted that Amisi contributes weapons to the FDLR rebel group. Amisi is also accused of a number of war crimes including widespread killings, summary executions, rapes, and pillage. Read More »
This week, the US Africa Leaders Summit in Washington marks an unprecedented opportunity for political and business leaders to discuss new investment opportunities in Africa. Major summit events include the US-Africa Business Forum, co-hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and moderated by Bill Clinton, as well as numerous meetings focused on trade and economics. As leaders from the US and throughout Africa discuss an emerging frontier for investors, Enough presents its newest report, Doing Good while Doing Well: Is there a Win-Win Formula for Investing Responsibly in Congo’s Minerals Sector? Political and business actors taking advantage of new investment opportunities and partnerships should also use innovative corporate social responsibility approaches, highlighted in Enough’s new report. Read More »
Unlike in the electronics industry, where tech giants Intel and HP have established themselves as industry leaders in the effort to source 3TG responsibly, the automotive industry has largely lacked a conflict-free champion. Lately, however, Ford has taken steps to distinguish itself as a potential catalyst for industry-wide change. Though much more work must be done to bring the conflict-free initiative to the automotive industry, Ford’s Sustainability Report 2013/2014 is a step in the right direction. Read More »
Just four years after enactment of historic Dodd-Frank “conflict minerals” legislation, a new investigative report by the Enough Project identifies early signs of success, with many lucrative mines in eastern Congo no longer controlled by violent armed groups responsible for mass atrocities, rape, and grave violations of human rights.
By Fidel Bafilemba, Timo Mueller, and Sasha Lezhnev | Jun 10, 2014
Armed Groups Cede Control of Mines in Eastern Congo
Dodd-Frank Rules Push US Companies to Clean Up Conflict Mineral Supply Chains, but Urgent Reforms Needed on Gold
Just four years after enactment of historic Dodd-Frank “conflict minerals” legislation, a new investigative report by the Enough Project identifies early signs of success, as armed groups responsible for mass atrocities, rape, and grave violations of human rights have ceded control of two-thirds of mines surveyed in eastern Congo producing tantalum, tin, and tungsten.
Enough’s report, by Fidel Bafilemba, Timo Mueller, and Sasha Lezhnev, is the result of 5 months of field research examining 14 mining locations that produce three key minerals used in electronics, autos and an array of other products. While early success is seen in the demilitarization of these “3T” mines, conflict gold is still in need of urgent reform.
“Our research found that electronics companies are expanding their responsible minerals sourcing from Congo, and Congolese miners are now able to earn 40% more from those mines,” said Enough’s Senior Policy Analyst Sasha Lezhnev. “Mines formerly controlled by warlords such as Bosco Ntaganda are now part of peaceful supply chains, as 21 electronics brands and other companies now source from 16 conflict-free mines in Congo. Tech and jewelry companies should further expand these projects and contribute to the new USAID fund for artisanal miners.”
“After years of abusive international extraction of Congo’s resources, the Dodd-Frank law is reforming the way that commercial actors engage in eastern Congo and the region. Responsible businesses are beginning to remove the gasoline that has fueled Congo’s deadly conflicts,” said Enough’s Co-Founder John Prendergast, “but the Congolese army and several other militias continue predatory abuses against civilians.”
The report, “The Impact of Dodd-Frank and Conflict Minerals Reforms on Eastern Congo’s Conflict,” finds that since the legislation began forcing companies to examine and begin cleaning up their supply chains, and since the Congolese military launched an initial restructuring, armed groups and Congo’s army have ceded control of two-thirds of mines surveyed that produce tantalum, tin, and tungsten in eastern Congo.
“Dodd-Frank has had major impact in eastern Congo by making it much less economically viable for illegal armed groups and the army to exploitatively mine 3 out of the 4 major conflict minerals,” said Enough’s Field Researcher Fidel Bafilemba. “However, U.S. Special Envoy Russ Feingold, the United Nations, and especially now those in jewelry business, must squarely address conflict gold that still funds armed groups responsible for atrocities and grave human rights abuse.”
"The Congolese government, NGOs, and donors should create a miners entrepreneurship fund to empower miners in eastern Congo to expand their small businesses, generate income, and minimize safety risks and abuses known to artisanal mining,” said Enough’s Field Researcher Timo Mueller.
“Without reforming the security sector, militarily engaging the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group, introducing real anti-corruption reforms, and committing to free and fair elections, the security situation will remain unstable,” added Prendergast.
The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more: www.enoughproject.org.