Congo Bans Mining in Eastern Provinces


"Much of the mining in these parts is linked to mafia-like groups."

Democratic Republic of Congo has banned mining operations in the country's east in a move aimed at undermining illegal networks fuelling the region's violence.

The government said that some 5 million people have been killed in the central African state since the start of a 1998-2003 war and the government and UN forces are struggling to uproot myriad rebel groups still active in the minerals-rich east.

The ministry of mines said: "Much of the mining in this part of the country is linked to mafia-like groups that reinforce chronic insecurity, counter to efforts at stabilization."

The statement said the ban would cover minerals extraction, processing and marketing in North Kivu, South Kivu and Maniema provinces—areas rich in coltan and cassiterite used in many of the world's mobile phones.

No major mining companies operate in the three provinces.

Many of Congo's minerals are dug from unofficial artisanal mines and concerns that the proceeds from their sale support rebel groups responsible for recent massacres and rapes has led to new efforts to clamp down.

The United States passed legislation requiring companies sourcing from Congo and its nine neighbors to prove minerals, such as tin and tungsten ores, coltan and gold are "conflict free," prompting some industry experts to say it may lead to a de facto embargo.

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