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IPIS releases report & webmap on armed conflict in eastern Dem. Rep. of Congo's artisanal mining sector

Author: Ken Matthysen & Peer Schouten, IPIS, Published on: 29 April 2019

"Mapping Artisanal Mining Areas and Mineral Supply Chains in DRC", 9 April 2019.

In a new report and webmap, IPIS presents its updated data on armed conflict and armed interference in eastern DRC's artisanal mining sector...The report illustrates that responsible sourcing efforts have indeed improved the personal security of groups of artisanal miners in several provinces. However, these are relatively fragile gains and the underlying problems remain unchanged.

IPIS also establishes that most of the armed conflicts appear to be unrelated to mining activities. Armed interference in artisanal mining often rather concerns illegal ‘protection rackets’, while armed confrontations largely take place elsewhere and for other stakes...

IPIS data...shows that armed interference is decreasing over time in areas with more scrutiny – where responsible sourcing initiatives are being implemented. IPIS however also notes that the widespread corruption among state agents further enables illegal mineral supply chains to persist, and to contaminate ‘responsible supply chains’. It raises serious questions about the effectiveness of traceability...Responsible sourcing initiatives have increased the level of organization of the artisanal mining sector (ASM). However, responsible sourcing seems to have been particularly instrumental to local elites...

The limited impact of responsible sourcing on local development raises the question how sustainable the current situation is. So far, increasing regulation of the artisanal mining sector and responsible sourcing efforts, have rather had a negative overall effect on the socio-economic position of artisanal miners...In order to increase sustainability, responsible sourcing efforts should increase their level of engagement towards national and local governments in eastern DRC. Externally controlled clean supply chains in a context of failing governance will not persist. It is a shared responsibility to ensure that in-country authorities manage to actually control responsible sourcing...

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