DRC: Glencore copper-cobalt mine allegedly linked to pollution, child labour and tax evasion; including past company responses

An Environmental Justice Atlas case study alleges that Glencore's subsidiary Kantaga Mining operates a copper-cobalt mine which has polluted local water sources, been linked to child labour, engaged in tax evasion and threatened human rights defenders.

This story includes past responses provided by Glencore to the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, which address allegations also featured in the case study.

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Item
17 March 2020

Glencore-Katanga Mining Ltd., Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Author: Environmental Justice Atlas

The largest worldwide production of Cobalt brings environmental and water pollution, but also child and forced labour, smuggling of materials, fiscal and tax evasion, violence on activists and human rights defenders

Summary of the conflict: The company Katanga Mining Ltd. operates a copper-cobalt project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This corporation is a subsidiary of Glencore, and is owned by the latter for a stake of 75%. Katanga Mining also holds a 75% stake in two joint ventures with Gécamines, a state-owned mining company in the DRC: Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) and DRC Copper and Cobalt Project (DCP). Overall, Glencore has in the DRC most of its worldwide production of Cobalt. The impacts of the company’s activities span from air and environmental pollution to water pollution, but also child and forced labour, smuggling of materials, fiscal and tax evasion, violence on activists and human rights defenders...

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Company response
27 October 2019

Glencore response

Author: Glencore

During the production of this report, Resource Matters engaged with Glencore and we responded to a range of questions about our anti-corruption policies as well as our activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Our responses to these questions are available on page 30 of the report...We would like to take this opportunity to emphasise that throughout the Glencore Group we seek to maintain a culture of ethical behaviour and compliance, rather than simply performing the minimum required by laws and regulations. As part of our approach we will not knowingly assist any third party in breaching the law, or participate in any criminal, fraudulent or corrupt practice in any country. To support this, we have a Group compliance programme that includes a range of policies, procedures, guidelines, training and awareness, monitoring and investigations. Our Boardlevel Ethics, Compliance and Culture Committee oversees the operation and implementation of our compliance programme...

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Company response
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2 October 2018

Réponse de Glencore

Author: Glencore

...Nous voudrions profiter de cette occasion pour exprimer nos préoccupations quant à la qualité de ce Dossier en raison de ses inexactitudes factuelles au sujet de Glencore et de notre filiale Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) en République démocratique du Congo (RDC).

Nous regrettons que Pain pour le prochain (PPP) n’ait pas communiqué avec Glencore ou KCC sur ce Dossier avant sa publication. Nous notons néanmoins positivement que PPP reconnaît les progrès accomplis par Glencore et KCC en mettant en oeuvre des actions éducatives, en soutenant des coopératives agricoles et en apportant des améliorations dans le domaine des soins de santé...

[Glencore apporte des précisions sur les points suivants:]

- Gestion de l'eau

- Lutte contre la poussière

- Création d'avantages socio-économiques

[La réponse est disponible en anglais également ici]

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Company response
22 March 2016

Glencore response

Author: Glencore

Glencore is committed to engaging with its stakeholders, including our host communities and civil society. In particular, we have engaged extensively with RAID including through concluding a memorandum or understanding and arranging in-depth site visits and meetings with the entire management team of the relevant operations. Our approach to engagement, and responses to queries we receive are available on our website, and include previous responses to RAID, including with regard to the topics raised in this report...Regrettably, we were not given the opportunity to review the full report before its publication. We note that it continues to reiterate many of the same unfounded allegations originally maid in RAID's 2014 report PR of progress, to which we have responded in full.  We note that the recent report does not reflect this response, nor recognize any of the steps Glencore has taken over the past years to further strengthen its approach to stakeholder engagement and management of human rights. We enclose with this letter our previous responses to RAID...

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Company response
16 April 2012

Glencore response to BBC Panorama Broadcast

Author: Glencore

The children featured in the Panorama programme do NOT work for Glencore or any of its subsidiaries. The copper ore produced is NOT purchased by Glencore or any of its subsidiaries. We have every measure in place to ensure that the copper ore they produce is NOT processed by Glencore or any of its subsidiaries. Glencore does NOT profit from child labour...Glencore only took control of the Luilu plant in mid 2009, but the river pollution has been going on there for more than 50 years. Glencore has spent millions of dollars addressing this issue, whilst also keeping the plant open to safeguard 6,500 jobs...Glencore takes its responsibilities very seriously and sustainability is an integral part of everything we do. We have created a framework to balance social, environmental, ethical and commercial interests at every level of our Group which we call Glencore Corporate Practice...Glencore does not have any involvement in artisanal mining in the DRC.

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Company response
17 February 2012

Response by Glencore (now Glencore Xstrata): John Capel of Bench Marks Foundation in So. Africa criticises "African Mining Indaba" conference for excluding civil society.

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