AA / Kinshasa / Pascal Mulegwa
The Provincial Assembly of South Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has accused Chinese companies of illegally exploiting minerals in the region.
The report presented by a specialized parliamentary committee noted that Chinese companies are guilty of “illegal exploitation of minerals (gold and cassiterite) in the territory of Mwenga”.
The report presented on Friday in Bukavu underlines that not only does no Chinese company have “an operating permit in the territory of Mwenga, but none of them respect the provisions of the revised mining code or the specifications adopted with the local communities ”.
The parliamentary commission noted a “fraud in the exploitation” and the presence of the soldiers in the mining sites in Mwenga, however prohibited by the Congolese laws.
The Chinese use chemicals in the operation, resulting in the “pollution” of several rivers, the report said. In total, six Chinese companies operate in the territory of Mwenga rich in gold and cassiterite.
The companies cited operate under the guise of local mining cooperatives and do not take into account the spaces reserved for neighboring populations, the report indicates.
In mid-August, the governor of South Kivu, Théo Ngwabidje suspended these companies including BM Global Business, Congo Blueant Minerals, Orientale Ressource Congo, Yellow Water Resource, New Continent Mineral and Groupe resource. The governor reproached these firms for mining when they only have exploration permits.
In reaction to this decision, Beijing had dissociated itself from these Chinese companies.
The Chinese foreign ministry said the Beijing authorities have ordered the six Chinese mining companies banned from activities by the governor of South Kivu province to pack up and leave the sites “as soon as possible”.
This official message was accompanied by a threat of sanctions after investigations. China is the largest operator of Congolese mines, most of which are outside of state control. Mines mainly operated by illegal workers escape the traceability circuit and are often accused of participating in the financing of armed groups.
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