The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)is planning to remove “crucial regulations banning politicians and senior army figures” from owning mining rights.

This is according to a recent report published and issued by Global Witness, an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) focused on the natural resource exploitation.

According to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the DRC has been compliant in terms of global transparency for improving the governance of natural resources.

The NGO says that “vital terms” regarding conflict of interest have been removed and virtually unnoticed. This situation, in combination with “extremely loose transparency provisions” could open the DRC’s mining sector to corruption.

The proposed change is included in amendments to Congo’s 2002 mining law submitted by the Congolese government to parliament in March.

Global Witness says the delays in finalising the new DRC mining regulations are rife with further problem areas including:

  • Conflict of interest safeguards have been removed;
  • There is no specific provision for the publication of contracts;
  • There is insufficient transparency and scrutiny in the tender process, with too much discretion left to the mining minister;
  • State-owned enterprises have been left largely unregulated;
  • Clear and rigorous beneficial ownership disclosure requirements are needed;
  • There are no articles dealing specifically with the prevention of conflict financing and army involvement in the minerals trade.

“Global Witness is calling for the new legislation to shed more light on the industrial mining sector, prevent politically-exposed persons from profiting from mining, expose the identities of the ultimate owners of mining rights, and put an end to the transport, smuggling and sale of minerals by armed men, members of the army and provincial officials.

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