The Democratic Republic of Congo is Africa’s largest tin producer and accounts for 5-7% of the world output. However, recent campaigns from rights groups and governments claiming that conflict minerals are being traded have adversely affected sales in the region. The Congolese government has dealt with this by withdrawing their military from the Bisie mine, the nation’s largest tin mine. Removing military units allows the North Kivu provincial mining department to take control of the mine in order to increase the amount of conflict-free minerals.
The Congolese military has controlled the Bisie mine for the past few years and has been accused of increasing violence in the area. Along with several rebel groups, they have been accused of profiting from illegal mining actions including imposing illegal taxes on miners and trading illegally. Withdrawing the military could end armed conflict in the mineral trade, a main cause of violence in Congo that has killed over 5 million people since the 1990’s. The government of Congo is trying to increase foreign investment in their mining industry with this plan:
1. At the mine: Armed soldiers would be pulled out of the mine. Civilians would now be in control of the mines and security would be provided to ensure the safety of all miners.
2. At the trading center: Tax will be imposed on the miners at trade centers. Miners will be required to have permits in order to mine.
3. Minerals will be sold to companies, authorized as fair trade and exported around the globe.
It will be exciting to see how successful the government is in addressing the fair trade issue as well as increasing foreign investment. Learn more about the mining, minerals, and metals industry here!