Kinshasa, DRC —MININGREVIEW.COM — 11 August 2009 – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo to press its leadership to work toward preventing mining profits from funding militia fighting in the east of the country.
“I am particularly concerned about the exploitation of natural resources, like mining and timber, where the revenues do nothing to help the people of this country,” Clinton told DRC university students at a forum here.
“Pressure needs to be put on the government to prevent mining-related violence,” said Dave Peterson, director for African affairs at the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy. “While President Joseph Kabila will talk about his belief in human rights, the government does virtually nothing to stop what’s going on in eastern DRC,” Peterson added.
Clinton “’ who plans to fly to eastern Congo today to visit United Nations peacekeeping troops and meet with rape victims “’ said she would be exploring ways to end this conflict. She would confer with President Kabila in Goma, a major city in that region.
She stressed that she wanted to help the DRC become compliant with the Norway-based Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a global standard that aims to improve accountability in the mining, oil and natural gas industries.
The DRC is home to extensive mineral wealth, even as its 66 million people remain among the poorest in the world. Diamonds will account for 10%, or about US$1 billion (R8 billion), of the country’s export revenue this year, the State Department estimates. DRC also exports copper, cobalt, gold, tin, zinc and coltan, the last of which is used in mobile phones.