Conflict Minerals: The Truth Underlying the Systemic Looting of Congo

Archive for the ‘blood minerals’ tag

Why Conflict Minerals Is Not A Great Victory for the Congo

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miners1. The Conflict Minerals narrative leaves the public believing that the source of Congo’s challenge is rebel groups that brutally rape women to control lucrative mines. When in fact the source of Congo’s challenge has been the attempt by the West to weaken this wealthy and strategically important country through wars, invasions, assassinations and propping up of dictators.

2. It wipes out 14 years of crimes committed against the Congolese people in which foreign governments and multinational corporations are complicit and have not been held to account.

3. It says absolutely nothing about mining companies (Banro, AngloGold Ashanti, OM Group, Freeport McMoRan are but a few examples) operating in the Congo that have either been implicated in illegally exploiting Congo’s wealth or involved in odious contracts that do not accrue to the benefit of the Congolese people.

4. It takes none of the prescriptions that have been offered by Congolese women, youth, politicians or business groups over the years into account.

5. It offers no evidence whatsoever that certification and auditing of the extraction of minerals from Eastern Congo will end the conflict.

A few simple questions to Ponder:

1. Rwanda is a top buyer of Congo’s conflict minerals according to Bloomberg News (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?sid=a1p3C4mCsY2o&pid=20601087) and Uganda is building a refinery ostensibly to refine conflict minerals from Congo (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8662680.stm ) but the US has said or done nothing about their allies. The US continues to give both countries aid, military equipment and training. And shockingly Conflict Minerals advocates are silent about a main buyer of conflict tin. Why demonstrations in front of apple store but none in front of the Rwandan Embassy?

2. According to Dow Jones news Rwanda stands to make $200 million in 2010 from Tin, Tantalum & Tungsten, none of which it has large quantities but rather secure these conflict minerals from the Congo. Yet, the conflict minerals advocates are deadly silent. Why?

3. If US allies Rwanda and Uganda triggered the conflict with two invasions 1996 & 1998 and they either have international arrest warrants for their leaders as is the case with Rwanda’s leaders or international ruling against them as is the case with Uganda where the International Court of Justice ruled in 2005 Uganda owes Congo $10 billion in reparations, why is the State Department not saying or doing anything about this? There is law on the US books PL 109 – 456 Sec. 5 (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s109-2125) calls on US to withhold aid from countries that destabilize the Congo yet no action is being taken.

4. Finally, atrocious crimes have been committed over the last 14 years where an estimated 6 million people have died. The United Nations via four studies (http://www.friendsofthecongo.org/resource-center/reports-a-studies.html) have implicated over 100 companies a number of which is American but yet the State Department Contact Point has refused to act on recommendations from the United Nations. Companies such as AngloGold Ashanti (the largest investor is American John Paulson of Paulson & Co. – http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ajab_txy3yJM&pos=4) and Banro corporation stand to reap billions from the region of the most vicious violence against Congolese civilian. And the outcry from conflict minerals advocates? NONE!!!

In light of the above facts, conflict minerals efforts appear to be an awkward attempt to cover for US allies and US corporations (See previous Huff Post article by Congolese youths: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kambale-musavuli/conflict-minerals-a-cover_b_391506.html)

What should be done to end the conflict?

1. US should fully implement it’s own law, PL 109-456, especially section 105.

2. US should pressure its allies Rwanda and Uganda to stop the destabilization and looting of the Congo

3. US should hold its corporations accountable, especially its mining companies

4. US should engage in Congo differently by prioritizing diplomatic and political approach over a military approach. Read more about prescriptions http://www.friendsofthecongo.org/resource-center/policy-a-issue-briefs.html

Written by Congo Kin

July 21st, 2010 at 6:08 am

Rwanda’s Mining Sector Output Grew 20% In 2008 – IEPA

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Rwanda’s Mining Sector Output Grew 20% In 2008 – IEPA

Last update: 5:44 a.m. EST Jan. 5, 2009
Jan 05, 2009 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) — DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

Rwanda’s mining sector output grew 20% in 2008 from the year earlier due
to increased export volumes of tungsten, cassiterite and coltan, the
country’s three leading minerals, the country’s Investment and Export
Promotion Agency said Monday.

By the end of October 2008, mineral export revenues increased to $89
million compared with $71.5 million for the whole of 2007.

“Although the mining sector is still largely artisan, based on the
export figures as of October, the revenues will hit more than $100
million in 2008,” IEPA said, adding that the mining sector is poised to
overtake coffee, tea and tourism as the country’s top revenue earner By
2010.

In 2007, mineral exports accounted for 40% of the country’s total export
revenue earnings, IEPA said. However, the report didn’t state the
quantities of minerals exported.

Rwanda now aims to increase annual mineral export revenues to $200
million by 2010 by attracting higher investment, modernizing mining
methods and expanding exploration. As a long term-measure, the country
also expects to attract more investments in mineral processing.

Rwanda has no large-scale mining industry and aid agencies say a large
part of the minerals are smuggled into the country from Congo’s
mineral-rich North Kivu province which has strong social and economic
links with the tiny.

-By Nicholas Bariyo, contributing to Dow Jones Newswires

Written by Congo Kin

May 15th, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Conflict Minerals Critique By Congolese Research Institute

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All these initiatives, however, have to face a basic problem.  The values which motivate the various national or international lobbyists, such as the inalienability of human rights (the civilian victims attributed to armed groups, the enslavement of miners and their inhuman working conditions, the impunity, and the absence of social dividends), the political climate (the management of natural resources, taking into account also the environmental as well as the social impact), and lastly the economic liberalization (the market, rather than the armed groups, regulating the trade), can hardly attempt to raise the level of responsibility of a Congolese state that is no longer seen to exist in many public sectors and areas of the country.   The question that arises is: Without a Congolese state capable of playing its role in controlling and running affairs, how can the minerals of Kivu be de-criminalized?

It is imperative that the various people and organizations of good will who are determined to ensure that the minerals of Kivu are ‘clean’ or conflict-free first work towards a definition of the basics necessary for the re-establishment of the Congolese state.  Only when this is in place will the control of the mining industry be possible.  The various initiatives will not be effective unless this basic condition is met.
Aloys Tegera
March 2010, Pole Institute, Goma, DRC

Click here (PDF) to read entire critique!

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