The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network

Blood Diamonds: DR Congo bans raw Minerals Exports

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have halted all raw minerals’ exports from the country.

Reports from Kinshasa reveal that the DRC government has taken the stance to curb the massive exploitation of the country’s rather abundant mineral resources.

As foreign nations scramble for the DR Congo Minerals, the country was always forced into tribal wars and unending political conflicts all coupled with series of horrid bloodshedding episodes.

With total mineral wealth estimated in the tens of trillions of dollars, the Democratic Republic of Congo could have well been the richest country in the world, but forced unrest has reduced this largest state in Eastern Africa to be among the poorest regions.

Minerals in DRC have always been a curse instead of blessing to local residents

On the other hand, DR Congo will soon be joining Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South-Sudan to make the world’s largest signle trading bloc under the Arusha-based, East African Community (EAC).

Taking stronger control of its resources is deemed as right move.

According to the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the US Department of Commerce; “The DRC has substantial untapped gold, cobalt and high-grade copper reserves, but equally significant security risks accentuated by a lack of robust infrastructure.”

The ITA publishes that in 2019, mine production of cobalt in the DRC totaled 100,000 metric tons, accounting for 70 percent of global production.  The DRC was the third largest producer of industrial diamonds in 2019, contributing about 21 percent of global production.

The country boasts some of the highest quality copper reserves globally, with some of the mines estimated to contain grades above 3 percent, significantly higher than the global average of 0.6 – 0.8 percent.  International mining companies attracted by high grade and low-cost mines are increasingly attracted to the DRC’s copper wealth situated on the copper belt in the southern part of the country.  In 2019, the DRC produced 1.43 million tons of copper, up 19 percent over 2018.  With operating costs that are lower than traditional gold producing countries like South Africa, DRC’s gold mining sector is also witnessing renewed interest from mining companies.

International Trade Administration (ITA)

It is also being reported that over 50 percent of the mines in eastern Congo are managed by various hostile rebel and militia groups.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to the world’s deadliest conflict since the Second World War

“Over 5.4 million people have lost their lives in the last fifteen years.  The conflict in the Congo has many different aspects.  It began largely because of ethnic tensions, political strife, and land rights.  However, this conflict has evolved into a conflict of profit that is largely fueled by the mineral rich mines in the eastern part of the country.  The DRC is one of the richest places in the world in terms of natural resources.  Eastern Congo has a wealth of minerals including Tin, Tungsten, Tantalum, and Gold.  All of these minerals are integral parts of the electronics we as consumers use everyday such as our laptops and cell phones.”

Overview of Conflict Minerals in the CongoColby Community

The move taken by DR Congo in halting raw minerals exports, according to experts, may not be taken well by some countries, especially developed ones.

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