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26 Jun 2008

Michael Deibert, CorpWatch

A Glittering Demon: Mining, Poverty and Politics in the Democratic Republic of Congo

...AngloGold Ashanti exemplifies the tensions between moneyed foreign mining firms and local residents... A November 2007 report by a special commission of Congo’s Ministry of Mines reviewing mining contracts…concluded that the terms and lack of transparency in Ashanti Goldfields [now AngloGold Ashanti] original contract violated Congolese law and was thus subject to renegotiation... Noting that the existing document was “silent on the social clause,” obligating AGK [AngloGold Ashanti Kilo (part of AngloGold Ashanti)] to carry out programs to improve the lives of the region’s inhabitants, the commission noted that AGK had initiated some local social works... “The relationship between AngloGold and the community is not good, there is a lot of difficulty in communication,” says Jean-Paul Lonema, a community organizer working for…the Catholic organization Caritas... Lonema says that the company has refused to divulge the terms of its contract... “We clearly have a big gap between the expectation of the population after a war period, after the total absence of the state, and the presence of a new company,” says Guy-Robert Lukama, the company’s country manager for Congo... "...The budget constraints are very huge at this stage.” ...Jean-Claude Kanku, community development and relationship manager with AngloGold Ashanti in Mongbwalu [says] “We have decided to put more money into road building, which has a big impact for the community..." [also refers to Anvil Mining, Okimo]