Conflict Minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Gold from Eastern Congo.

PN Member Dr. Charles Tannock MEP and the Universal Peace Federation-UK organized meeting on the 'Responsible Sourcing of "Conflict Minerals"' on Tuesday 25 June 2013 in Brussels in order to support the European Union Trade Commission's two month 'Public consultation on a possible EU initiative on responsible sourcing of minerals originating from conflict-affected and high-risk areas'.

The meeting focused on the Democratic Republic of Congo where revenue generation from minerals and the purchase of weapons and exploitation of people are inter-linked.  

The DRC is one of the most mineral-rich countries in the world, with sizeable deposits of gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten in its eastern region. Unfortunately, according to the United Nations, a large amount of taxes, bribes or other payments are demanded in eastern Congo by warring armed groups for the extracted minerals. Minerals supporting violations against international laws which are extracted from conflict zones are referred to as conflict minerals. The majority of the Congolese minerals are smuggled to the neighboring countries of Rwanda and Burundi where they are sold to smelters, and ultimately find their way through complex supply chains into finished consumer and industrial products. This practice provides armed groups with a robust funding source and hinders peace efforts.

Since 1996, the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has claimed at least six million lives. Further, rape, sexual violence, torture, forced labor and use of child soldiers have been used as a tool of war to degrade communities and displace people. As Global Fund for Women reports, more than 500,000 women have been raped over the past decade in the Congo.

In person testimonies during the conference included:

  • Albert Mulikuza Mudukwe, Cabinet Director of the Provincial Minister of Mines, an official of the Democratic Republic of Congo Government (DRC) responsible for establishing a transparent sourcing process
  • Fidel Bafilemba, Field Research Consultant, Eastern DRC, Enough/The Project to End Genocide & Crimes Against Humanity
  • Humphrey Hawksley, BBC World Affairs Correspondent, who has done two documentaries for the BBC on the region
  • Keith Best, CEO of Freedom from Torture, who is compiling a report on torture in the DRC
  • Mrs. Laure Bulembi, Co-Founder of Mothers of Congo, who is from eastern DRC and currently living in the UK, will also speak.


For more information on the event and presentations made, please visit the Universal Peace Federation-UK website.

For more information on key conflict minerals from the East of the DR Congo, please visit the website of the Responsible Sourcing Network.


Photo by ENOUGH Project.

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