Submit this form
Home News Videos Music Photos Facebook Twitter Friends Newsletter Podcasts Mobile RSS
Review of Congo mining contracts marred by lack of transparency

Previous article | Next
Global Witness - October 1, 2007

Gecamines The integrity of a governmental review of mining contracts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is being undermined by a lack of transparency and pressure to rush through the process as fast as possible, Global Witness said in a new briefing published today. Global Witness is calling on the government to publish the contracts, as well as the criteria for their evaluation, and to extend the period available for the review.

The Global Witness briefing, entitled "The Congolese mining sector in the balance", provides a critique of the process of the review since its inception. It highlights several main concerns:

♦ a lack of transparency, clarity and public information, affecting almost every aspect of the review.

♦ intense pressure to complete the review within an unrealistic time-frame, calling into question its methodology.

♦ inadequate safeguards to protect the independence of the review.

♦ limited involvement of civil society and lack of public consultation.

Global Witness initially welcomed the DRC government's decision to launch a review of mining contracts in April 2007.[1] For decades, the DRC's vast mineral wealth, which includes diamonds, gold, copper and cobalt, has been exploited illegally or has been tied up in opaque deals which have provided huge profits for multinational companies and individual politicians, but contributed little or nothing to the country's development.

"This initiative could have marked a turning point by restoring transparency, fairness and trust in the mining sector," said Patrick Alley, Director of Global Witness. "It could also provide an effective tool with which to rebuild confidence among civil society, economic operators, investors and donors. Instead, the government is rushing the whole process through so fast that one has to question the thoroughness and objectivity of the exercise."

The Commission set up to carry out the review was given just three months to analyse more than 60 contracts. Although the period has been slightly extended, the government is still exerting pressure on the Commission, which is expected to submit its report to the Minister of Mines in October.

"This apparent disregard for the care and attention to detail required for a thorough review of contracts will affect both the quality and the outcome of the process," said Patrick Alley. "Huge sums of money are tied up in these contracts which could represent a valuable opportunity to develop the country's economy and reduce poverty. Yet the government does not appear to be treating the matter with the seriousness it deserves."

Global Witness warned that if the process is perceived as biased, it will be labelled as "business as usual" in the context of extensive corruption in the mining sector. Not only will the Commission's efforts then have been wasted, but popular disillusionment could lead to increased tension and instability in mining areas.

The government has not published the contracts under review (although it has made them available to certain organisations), nor has it published the criteria against which the contracts are to be evaluated. There is also a lack of information about how the contracts are being prioritised, since not all of them can be analysed in detail in the time available.

Global Witness also expressed concern about the limited involvement of Congolese civil society and the lack of consultation with the general public. The Congolese population have been the main victims of the grave mismanagement of natural resources in the DRC. Yet the government has not sought out their views as part of the process, even though mining operations have a direct impact on the lives of millions of Congolese men and women.

Global Witness's recommendations to the DRC government include:

♦ the publication of the terms of reference and criteria for the review, a full and definitive list of the contracts under review and the contracts themselves.

♦ a further extension of the period available for the review, if necessary by several months, and the publication of a revised timetable which allows sufficient time to solicit a broad range of views.

♦ the creation of an independent monitoring mechanism which would oversee the Commission's work and ensure that its final report is based on a fair, independent and thorough assessment of the contracts. The monitoring body, which could include members of civil society, parliamentarians and international legal experts, could also oversee the implementation of the Commission's recommendations.

The full Global Witness briefing, "The Congolese mining sector in the balance", is available at http://www.globalwitness.org/media_library_detail.php/576/en/the_congolese_mining_sector_in_the_balance

For further information, please contact Carina Tertsakian on +44 207 561 6372.


Related articles


  1. Moise Katumbi blocked from entering DR Congo (August 3, 2018)
  2. Congo Improves Natural Resources Accounting (July 4, 2014)
  3. At least 60 killed as train derails in Katanga province (April 23, 2014)
  4. Widespread abuse of logging permits opens up Congo's forests to more destruction (October 25, 2012)
  5. Opposition Supporters Step Up Attacks on Congolese Officials Abroad (February 28, 2012)
  6. Kabila's Senior Advisor Katumba Mwanke Dies in Plane Crash (February 12, 2012)
  7. Supreme Court Rules Joseph Kabila Won Presidential Election (December 16, 2011)
  8. Kabila Leads Partial Election Results (December 3, 2011)
  9. Vote Counting Underway after Mostly Peaceful Elections (November 29, 2011)
  10. Candidates to Make Last Stand in Kinshasa before Monday's Election (November 26, 2011)
  11. Tshisekedi: UDPS Has Never Been for a Joint Opposition Candidacy (November 19, 2011)
  12. On the Campaign Trail, Kabila, Tshisekedi Cross Paths in Eastern Congo (November 15, 2011)
  13. UN advises prudent use of abundant resources to spur development (October 10, 2011)
  14. The Government Will Ensure Peaceful Elections, Says Spokesman (October 6, 2011)
  15. 19,497 Candidates to Run for 500 Seats in Parliament (September 26, 2011)
  16. Kabila's Election Speech Leads to Judges' Strike (September 20, 2011)
  17. Tshisekedi Draws Huge Crowds in Kinshasa (August 10, 2011)
  18. Controversy over "conflict minerals" law (August 2, 2011)
  19. Global Witness welcomes DR Congo's decision to publish resource contracts (June 3, 2011)
  20. Opportunity for change in eastern Congo's mines must be seized (May 18, 2011)
  21. Militiamen Sent to Testify in Warlords Trials at ICC (March 28, 2011)
  22. New rules for miners (March 17, 2011)
  23. Mining ban fails to end armed control of trade, says Global Witness (March 4, 2011)
  24. Great Lakes Regional Summit to Focus on Congo Resource Exploitation (December 15, 2010)
  25. ICC Dismisses Jean-Pierre Bemba's Appeal on Admissibility of His Case (October 19, 2010)
  26. FDLR leader Callixte Mbarushimana arrested in France on ICC warrant (October 11, 2010)
  27. TP Mazembe boss fumes over ban (September 14, 2010)
  28. TP Mazembe boss oozes confidence (September 9, 2010)
  29. Global Witness takes UK government to court over Congo conflict minerals (July 26, 2010)
  30. U.S. passes landmark reforms on resource transparency (July 15, 2010)


Live TV Congo Radio en ligne Radio
Available on App Store
Get it on Google Play



Contact Us | About Us | Édition en Français | French Edition

© 2018 CongoPlanet.com. All rights reserved.