Armed Forces Called to safeguard Katanga Mining in Congo

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FILE PHOTO: Artisanal gold miners sit outside a tunnel at an illegal mine-pit in Walungu territory of South-Kivu province near Bukavu in Democratic Republic of Congo, April 5, 2014. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe

Katanga Mining Limited has received confirmation from its 75%-owned subsidiary, Kamoto Copper Company (“KCC”) that the armed forces of the DRC (FARDC) are in the area around the operations of KCC.

This follows a growing presence of illegal artisanal miners throughout industrial mining concessions in the Kolwezi area, which led to the tragic incident at KCC on June 27, 2019. KCC has communicated its expectations to the FARDC to exercise restraint and operate in accordance with Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (the Voluntary Principles) and international human rights standards. This includes the principles relating to the use of proportionate force and provision of medical aid.

Illegal mining is the result of a harsh economic divide across Africa, home to some of the world’s richest reserves of metals and minerals and some of the poorest people, who are willing to risk their lives in dangerous conditions to eke out a living. Some mining concessions in Congo are vast with perimeters stretching for miles, making them difficult to police.

The workers entered the KCC operation without permission and put their own lives at risk by digging at the site, one of the world’s biggest cobalt mines, Glencore said last week.

It’s a problem that’s affected several companies in the industry. Congo has also deployed troops to protect China Molybdenum Co.’s Tenke Fungurume mine from illegal miners.

As a subsidiary of Glencore group and as stipulated in Katanga’s Code of
Conduct, Katanga upholds the dignity, fundamental freedoms and human rights of our employees, contractors and the communities in which it lives and works as well as others affected by its activities.

Glencore said KCC has asked the Congolese armed forces to “exercise restraint and operate in accordance with voluntary principles on security and human rights.”

Katanga prioritizes the safety and security of our workforce and host
communities. Katanga is committed to working in line with the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the UN Global Compact.

 In March 2015, Katanga’s controlling shareholder, Glencore, became a corporate participant in the Voluntary Principles Initiative. Since 2013, Glencore has been implementing the Voluntary Principles at its assets with a high risk of security-related human rights breaches, which includes KCC. KCC will continue to engage with all the relevant stakeholders to collaborate on identifying and implementing a long-term, sustainable solution to illegal mining in the DRC.

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