DRC: Workers protest the working conditions in Congo Dongfang mine
Date Reported: 31 May 2021
Location: Congo (the Democratic Republic of the)
CompaniesZhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co. Ltd. - Parent Company , Congo Dongfang International Mining (CDM) - Subsidiary
ProjectsCongo Dongfang International Mining (CDM) Cobalt Mine(s) in DRC (Mine Name Unknown) - Unknown
Total individuals affected: Number unknownWorkers: ( Number unknown - Location unknown - Sector unknown ) , Community: ( Number unknown - Location unknown - Sector unknown )
IssuesChild labour , Occupational Health & Safety , Workers/Employees , Deaths
Response sought: No
Source type: News outlet
"The Dark Side of Congo’s Cobalt Rush", May 24 2021
In 2017, Chinese workers arrived in the village of Samukinda, half an hour northwest of Kasulo, and quickly constructed two dozen houses with corrugated-iron roofs. Kasulo residents were ordered to leave their neighborhood within two weeks...
Congo Dongfang offered the families of Kasulo either a lump sum for their plots—up to twenty-five hundred dollars—or a new home in Samukinda. A consortium of local organizations wrote to Governor Muyej, protesting that the evictions were illegal, but he pressed on...
The Democratic Republic of the Congo was reorganized in 2015, and Kolwezi became the new capital of a region called Lualaba. The first governor of Lualaba, Richard Muyej Mangez Mans... spoke critically of the cobalt “contagion” in Kasulo...“We have made a project proposal that we will submit to the authorities.”
The proposal, which Muyej didn’t disclose at the time, involved granting the mineral rights at Kasulo to a foreign company: Congo Dongfang International Mining, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Huayou, a Chinese conglomerate...
Muyej said that as many as a hundred and seventy thousand creuseurs work informally in his province. Among the forty or so sites where artisanal miners are employed as day laborers is the Congo Dongfang mine in Kasulo. Only eight hundred or so creuseurs work there, however, and that has stoked resentment...
Since the emergence of covid-19, Congo’s south has endured a series of lockdowns. Kajumba said that creuseurs like him “continue to work, but the situation is difficult.” Companies have furloughed workers, adding to their frustration. Several months ago, a Congolese friend sent me a video of miners protesting for back pay at a Chinese-run mine in Kolwezi. As pandemic restrictions continued, my friend sent me footage of protesters burning tires in the streets...
At some sites, the treatment of Congolese by their Chinese bosses is reminiscent of the colonial period. In a video shared with me by Mutindi, of Good Shepherd, a Congolese guard with a Kalashnikov slung across his back beats a man who is lying, semi-naked, in mud, his arms bound. Behind the camera, a man otherwise speaking Mandarin starts yelling “Piga! ”—the Kiswahili word for “beat.” In the background are seven of the trucks that Congo Dongfang uses to transport cobalt ore...