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New Report Assesses Transparency of Congolese Mining Sector

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Contacts:
The Carter Center: In Atlanta, Soyia Ellison, +1 404 420 5124 or soyia.ellison@emory.ed
In Lubumbashi, Soraya Aziz Souleymane, +243 810 700 077 or soraya.aziz@thecartercenter-drc.org
CdC/RN, Jimmy Munguriek Ufoy, +243 815 134 070 or cdcituri@gmail.com
MMKi: Lucien Bahimba, +243 823 306 068 or maisonmineskivu@gmail.com
POM: Jean-Marie Kabanga, +243 997 035 457 or jmkabanga@gmail.com

While efforts to ensure transparency in Congo's lucrative mining sector have made some progress in recent years, much more is needed in order to ensure that key information is made available to the public, according to a new report published by three Congolese NGO networks in partnership with the Carter Center.

While the DRC's participation in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has led to more information being published on mining sector taxes, civil society organizations still face significant obstacles in obtaining information on environmental impacts and mitigation plans, social and community development projects, and basic information on who owns major mining projects.

The study, entitled "Qui Cherche ne Trouve Pas" ("Seek and Ye Shall Not Find"), provides a comprehensive assessment of 17 mining operations across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Research was conducted by the Plateforme des Organisations de la société civile intervenant dans la Secteur Minier (POM), the Maison des Mines des Kivus, and the Cadre de Concertation sur les Ressources Naturelles d'Ituri. The networks used a standardized "transparency index" that measures the comprehensiveness, accessibility, and reliability of information in the public domain for each mining project and assigns scores based on that assessment.

The study found that:

  • There are at least 62 contracts, amendments, and annexes that have not been published by the Ministry of Mines, in violation of a Congolese decree that requires their publication within 60 days of being signed.
  • More than three-quarters of the companies made no environmental impact data available at the local level, despite the legal requirement to provide a summary of the environmental impact study (EIS) to local communities. This prevents most people living in the vicinity of industrial projects from anticipating environmental hazards and accessing social development plans described in those studies.
  • Across the board, corporate financial statements were not available. EITI requires that payments to public entities be disclosed; it does not cover details of investment and profit that are critical to put tax payments in perspective.
  • In most cases, researchers could not access the bylaws necessary to identify the companies' shareholders. Clerks from the commercial court (Tribunal de Commerce) often demanded either bribes or exorbitant official photocopying fees in exchange for access. Clerks at the court and at the offices of the state's legal journal (Journal Officiel) often could not find the requested files because of what appeared to be a lack of organized filing systems.
  • Many key documents, such as those available on the various stock exchanges, are available only in English. Often, information is more easily accessible to international shareholders than to Congolese stakeholders.

Based on the study's findings, CdC, MMKi, POM, and The Carter Center recommend the following:

To the Natural Resources Commission of the National Assembly and the Commission on the Revision of the Mining Code:

  • Strengthen the mining code to clearly require the publication of natural resources contracts, environmental impact studies (EIE), environmental management plans (PGEP), and community social development plans (PDD) on the Ministry of Mines website.
  • Include a requirement in the mining code to publish annual activity reports for each mining company on the Ministry of Mines website, using a simple format that is easily understood by the general public.

To the Minister of Mines:

  • Publish the 62 contracts, amendments, and annexes identified by the study as unpublished.
  • Develop a format for published annual activity reports. This format should be included as an annex to the revised mining regulations (Règlement Minier).
  • Require each mining operator to provide written confirmation that environmental impact studies have been distributed at the community level in accordance with article 451 of the mining regulations (Règlement Minier).
  • Redevelop the Ministry of Mines website, making it more comprehensive and easier to navigate.

To the mining companies:

  • Distribute the summaries of the environmental impact studies to the proper authorities and local communities in accordance with article 451 of the mining regulations.
  • Publish necessary information for the public (such as social projects, employment statistics, operation plans, value of investments, value of production and exports, etc.) on company websites in French.

Read the full report (PDF) >

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The Carter Center
"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

Cadre de Concertation sur les Ressources Naturelles d'Ituri
"Ensuring fair management of natural resources."
CdC/RN is a nonprofit civil society network created in 2007 specializing in monitoring mining sector governance in Ituri, Province Orientale, and advocating for reform.
Visit our website >

Maison des Mines des Kivus
MMKi is a consortium of civil society organizations specializing in monitoring mining sector governance in North Kivu, South Kivu, and Maniema provinces and advocating for reform.
Visit our website >

Plateforme des Organisations de la société civile intervenant dans le Secteur Minier
POM is a consortium of civil society organizations specializing in monitoring mining sector governance in Katanga province and advocating for reform.

Translations
Nouveau rapport sur le bilan de la transparence dans le secteur minier congolais

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