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DR Congo : IPIS publication - mapping militarised mining areas in the Kivus

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Antwerp, 10 August 2009. IPIS - the acronym for International Peace Information Service - has published an interactive map of militarised mining areas in the Kivus (MiMiKi) at: http://www.ipisresearch.be/mining-sites-kivus.php. Together with the map comes an explanatory guide to the research methodology and the possible uses of the map, including some striking findings.

The MiMiKi map constitutes a first systematic attempt to clarify the issue of profit by armed groups from the extractive industry in the east of the DRCongo. The interactive map contains information on.the location of mines, the presence of armed groups at mining pits and a number of other variables. Although most recent analyses written on the issue point out that the region's relative mineral wealth is not the primary cause of the armed conflict in the Kivus, its role in financing armed groups is indisputable. Because of this situation, Western companies buying ores originating from the Great Lakes region, have been targeted by international NGOs who are asking them to implement a thorough system of due diligence. In the light of the loudening call for a stricter regulation of the sector, the listing of mining sites in the Kivus is essential.

The MiMiKi map is a snapshot of the situation as it was in the period May-July 2009.

All the armed groups deployed in the region profit directly from the mining activities. Armed groups have positions at more than half of the sites listed on the MiMiKi map where they obtain an (extra) income. The FARDC control some of the most important mining sites and do not restrain themselves from intervening in mining activities at several of those.

The FDLR are particularly active in the gold mining business. There are great differences in the level of their involvement in the mining activities. Some FDLR units force people to work for them, others do not seem to bother the local population and are only involved in trading the minerals.

After its integration into the FARDC, the (ex-)CNDP access to the mines has clearly increased. The MiMiKi map indicates that the (ex-)CNDP soldiers have installed a system of taxation in the mining centres they control.

The MiMiKi map only shows a part of the mining sector, namely the extraction of the minerals. In order to find out whether Western companies are buying Congolese minerals from which armed groups might benefit, the whole trading chain needs to be established. Therefore, in addition to the MiMiKi map, IPIS has appended a specific table containing information on the activities of the official comptoirs (mineral traders) in 2008. The table can be consulted at the same webpage as the map (http://www.ipisresearch.be/mining-sites-kivus.php).

It has to be noted that the MiMiKi map is not yet complete and should be considered as a work in progress. To date, more than 200 active mining sites are located on the map, including the most important. There are a few remaining blind spots (areas on which IPIS has no first hand information) on the map.

The publication is funded by the Africa Conflict Prevention Pool Fund, a Joint UK Government Approach to Preventing and Reducing Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa.

IPIS is an independent study and information service, focusing on arms trade, exploitation of natural resources and corporate social responsibility in Sub-Saharan Africa.

More information on the map and the accompanying note:

Steven Spittaels, steven.spittaels@ipisresearch.be, +32-(0)-485/737963
Filip Hilgert, filip.hilgert@ipisresearch.be, +32-(0)-475/662301
http://www.ipisresearch.be/mapping

Map - DRC: Interactive map of militarised mining areas in the Kivus (August 2009)