PRESS RELEASE IN RELATION TO THE HOLDING OF THE 4th ALTERNATIVE MINING INDABA EDITION
PRESS RELEASE AMI DRC2020
Southern Africa Resource Watch in partnership with Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and World Vision, held the 4th edition of the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) in the Democratic Republic of Congo under the theme “Management and impacts of the mining royalties on the development of Decentralised Local Entities and the impact of COVID-19 on the Congolese mining sector”. The two-day event took place from the 18th to the 19th November at the Pullman Hotel Grand Karavia in Lubumbashi, Haut-Katanga province.
More than 100 people from the city of Kinshasa, provinces and abroad, took part in this year’s event. The National Minister of Mines, Professor Willy Kitobo, opened and closed the AMI, which was attended by delegates from the DRC President’s office, the National Assembly, the Provincial Assembly of the Haut-Katanga, the Provincial Governments of Haut-Katanga and Lualaba, the specialised public services of the Ministry of Mines, the Decentralised Local Entities, mining companies, the artisanal mining cooperatives and Civil Society Organisations, including women’s groups operating in the mining sector and the youth.
The participants recognised that the 15 per cent mining royalty paid directly to Decentralised Local Entities, the 0.3 per cent minimum allocation to mining communities from the mining companies’ annual turnover and the negotiation of the specification books (Cahiers des charges) by mining companies represent opportunities for development at local level. The Decentralised Local Entities are already receiving their 15 per cent royalties from mining companies and some local communities are in the process of negotiating the specification books (Cahiers des Charges) with the mining companies and a few have already signed them.
Some Decentralised Local Entities presented their social projects financed with the mining royalty. Despite a negative impression from participants on the use of the royalties on local development, they applauded the number of achievements presented by these Decentralised Local Entities. Participants recognised the existence of a gap between the policy and implementation. Beyond the problems related to the implementation of legal provisions, the Decentralised Local Entities are also faced with governance issues due to the lack of preparation as well as the lack of transparency and accountability in the management of mining royalty funds. For example, the Decentralised Local Entities in Lualaba province, alone, have received for the past two years more than US$ 110 million in royalties, however, the social projects do not appear to be in proportion to the revenue received. The consensus that emerged from this is that the management of the royalties would have had more impact if it met the principles of transparency, accountability and ownership by communities.
It was established that since the beginning of the payment of royalty to Decentralised Local Entities, the government has not set up mechanisms to control the management of these revenues. In this regard, participants considered that the traditional control bodies (Finance General Inspection, Court of Audits) and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) should accomplish their missions up to Decentralised Local Entities level in order to curb the waste of financial resources available for grassroots development.
With the exception of artisanal mining where the impact of COVID-19 was visible, especially in the diamond sector, mining companies maintained their production and paid regular royalties to communities. In the industrial sector, the impact of COVID-19 was felt mostly by mineworkers who were locked at mining sites in deplorable and inhuman conditions in order for most companies to maintain production.
Participants also recognised the persistence of child labour in artisanal mining. It was observed that the Decentralised Local Entities do not consider in their planification, as specified in the mining regulation, the fight against all forms of child labour.
At the end of the AMI’s working sessions, delegates made several recommendations. The following were the key ones:
- To promote responsible and capable leadership at the level of Decentralised Local Entities, through completion of the decentralisation process;
- To get each Decentralised Local Entity to draw up its Development Plan, aligned with that of the province. This Plan should reflect development vision for each Entity, and the community should take ownership of it;
- To set up control mechanisms with appropriate sanctions to fight mismanagement and corruption;
- To secure support for local communities from Decentralised Local Entities and provincial mining ministries in the process of negotiating and signing of the specification books (Cahiers des Charges) with mining companies;
- To get Decentralised Local Entities, with technical support from sectorial ministries, to develop an integrated multisectoral child protection program to fight against the worst forms of child labour in the sector. This program should be funded with the royalty that Decentralised Local Entities receive; and
- The ministry of mines and mining companies must design preventive mechanisms against a future possible crisis in view of what transpired with COVID-19.
SARW wishes to thank the Haut-Katanga provincial government for its collaboration in organising this 4th edition of the Alternative Mining Indaba in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Done in Lubumbashi, on November 19, 2020
For further information please contact:
Patricia Ngoy Mango: PatriciaN@sarwatch.org
Masutane Modjadji: MasutaneM@sarwatch.org