DRC: Authorities and Glencore face the recurrent illegal artisanal gold mining issue

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1 July 2019

Congo to Send Troops to Remove Illegal Miners From Glencore Site

Author: William Clowes, Bloomberg

The Democratic Republic of Congo is preparing to send troops to remove illegal miners from a Glencore Plc mine where at least 43 people died last week...

The deployment follows a similar move last month to protect China Molybdenum Co.’s Tenke Fungurume mine from incursions by illegal miners. Thursday’s fatal accident at an open pit operated by Glencore’s Kamoto Copper Co. was caused by a landslide that occurred after the people broke into an area of the mine, according to the company. Glencore estimates that 2,000 unauthorized people enter the industrial copper-cobalt site on average every day...

“I have received an order to do the same thing as at TFM,” General John Numbi, inspector-general of the Congolese Armed Forces, said...“The president has instructed me to put an end to the theft of minerals in the concessions, on the mining sites." 

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi met with senior military officers Sunday to discuss the response, Numbi said.

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28 June 2019

Death Toll at Glencore’s Mine Puts Spotlight on Illegal Mining

Author: William Clowes and Felix Njini, Blooomberg

The dozens of people killed in a landslide at Glencore Plc’s mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo highlight a constant struggle in the industry: illegal mining...Glencore estimates that 2,000 unauthorized people enter the industrial site on average every day...The company said the people were killed in a landslide on Thursday after breaking into an area of the mine..."Illegal mining is a prime example of the kind of risks associated with mining in DRC," said Indigo Ellis..."It’s not as simple as saying hiring private security will solve the problem, as often they are involved in this trade."...

The workers entered the mine without permission and put their own lives at risk by digging at the Kamoto industrial site...Congo deployed troops to protect China Molybdenum Co.’s Tenke Fungurume mine from illegal miners. “The police are overwhelmed,” said...the governor...He estimated there were 5,000 to 8,000 diggers at the Tenke Fungurume site. "They attack those driving the machines to help themselves to the minerals, sometimes brutally," he said. "Are the police capable of facing this war? In three months, due to clashes between the police and diggers, I’ve lost three policemen, killed by thrown rocks. Others have lost their eyes.”

A gold mine owned by AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. in Ghana was forced to evacuate employees when it was overrun by thousands of illegal miners in 2016. In South Africa, more than 30 illegal miners died in an explosion at an unused gold mine shaft in 2017..."We are concerned about the risk of additional safety issues in the future as these illegal mining activities are unlikely to stop in the country," said Christopher LaFemina..."Security measures will clearly need to be increased to reduce the risk of another tragedy at these operations."



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