Armed Groups Cede Control of Mines in Eastern Congo

Date: 
Jun 10, 2014

For Release: 10 June 2014

Contact: Christina DiPasquale, 202.716.1953, Christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com

 

Enough Project Investigative Report:

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 publishes conflict mineral company rankings and has worked with companies like Intel to help rid their supply chains of conflict minerals. Enough runs Raise Hope for Congo and the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative.

Link to download the report: http://eno.ug/D-FCongo  

To speak with an Enough Project spokesperson on this topic, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.716.1953 or Christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com.

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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.