The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Matt Brown

Enough Project Report Calls for Certification of Congo Minerals to Break Deadly Grip of Mafia-Like Networks


an official ban on mineral mining, the trade in conflict minerals from
eastern Congo continues, and is dominated by a mafia-like network of
military, political, rebel and business interests, raising the urgency
for an international certification process for the lucrative minerals
industry, a new report from the Enough Project said.

The report, "Why a Certification Process for Conflict Minerals is Urgent: A View from North Kivu,"
is based on Enough Project interviews from eastern Congo over the last
few months. Enough's field research shows how armed groups in the
region, especially around the region of Walikale, where some of the
worst incidents of mass rape have occurred, are profiting from the
extraction and taxation of conflict minerals.

"The mass rape of over 300 women in Walikale this past summer was a
shocking reminder of the humanitarian implications of the unregulated
minerals trade in Congo and the failure of the state to protect its
citizens," Enough Co-founder John Prendergast said. "If the U.S. doesn't
lead in the construction of an international certification process that
takes the profits from illegally and violently extracted minerals out
of the hands of the armed groups, the incentive structure will remain
biased towards impunity, conflict, and a predatory state."

The mineral ores that produce tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold - all
vital to consumer electronics manufacturers - are mined in eastern
Congo, where more than five million people have died as a result of more
than a dozen years of conflict. Last year Congress passed legislation
requiring companies to disclose their use of minerals from Congo.
However, a credible certification process to regulate the minerals trade
within the region remains needed or else a de facto embargo of
Congolese minerals will result.

"Armed groups claim to be fighting one another for a cause, but they
have in fact become business partners in mineral-rich Walikale and in
other areas of eastern Congo," said Enough Analyst Fidel
Bafilemba. "Despite a ban on mineral exports, commanders are abandoning
civilian protection posts to compete for control of mines, earning
millions of dollars per month from extracting and heavily taxing

Read the full report: "Why a Certification Process for Conflict Minerals is Urgent: A View from North Kivu."

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