067_Global12_InFocus_DRC_V8

Global issue 12

In FocusTh e Democratic Republic of Congo Enough is enough ers’ president at the Nyamurhale gold mine, where young men scramble down deep, nar- row shafts to hack gold out of a mountain. It’s then taken down to a river where chil- 2012 Confl ict Minerals Company Rankings dren are used to break and wash the rocks. The Enough Project, a campaigning organisation that works to end genocide and crimes against Soldiers watch over the process and collect a percentage of the profi ts. “Our children, humanity, has ranked the largest electronics companies on their efforts toward using and when they grow up, won’t have any other investing in confl ict-free minerals in their products, illustrating the actions companies are (or are jobs. So they will have to do the same work not) taking to help clean up the minerals trade in Congo in the same way,” says Bigirinama. “Why do we have to do this? Why can’t we train to do something else and fi nd a career and make money in another way? We’re born into this, and I tell you many of the miners are crying at the lives they have to lead.” But, now, through a mix of consumer group pressure and American legislation, the tide might be turning. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act of 2010, drawn up to regulate the US fi nancial system after the 2008 crisis, contains a section that specifi - cally addresses confl ict minerals from eastern Congo. Section 1502 requires any American company that believes it might be using these minerals to register with the US government. The immediate result has been a questioning by many multinationals about the moral and logistical sustainability of their supply chains. “No company can give a 100 percent guaran- tee of the minerals’ origin,” said global mo- bile phone giant Nokia in a statement. “We are honest and say that. The basic problem is  30% and over: These companies have taken proactive steps to trace and audit their supply that after minerals are smelted together, any chains, pushed for some aspects of legislation, exercised leadership in industry-wide efforts characteristics of the ore are gone. Currently, and started to help Congo develop a clean trade. there are no certifi cates available, and supply chains are long and complex.”  29% to 11%: These companies have taken some steps to investigate their supply chains, Even before the Dodd-Frank Act passed and are members of industry-wide efforts. More commitment and action on tracing, auditing, into law, American companies stopped buy- certifi cation, and legislative efforts are required. ing minerals from eastern Congo in order to  10% and under: These companies have done little to shift their practices. They are not avoid tarnishing their reputation. The law members of industry-wide efforts, have not taken the proper steps to investigate their also prompted the fragile Congolese gov- supply chains, have said nothing about legislation, and are not actively engaged with other ernment to draft its own legislation aimed at stakeholders. creating mineral production that was inter- nationally acceptable. The 34-member Or- *Lighter shaded/striped area represents 2010 score, if available ganisation for Economic Co-operation and Source: Enough Project Development has been negotiating its own guidelines to complement Dodd-Frank, and other minerals, simply switched to gold- Uncertainty riddles the experiment under representatives of the mineral industries are mining. It remains the black market metal way in eastern Congo and no one is antici- designing benchmarks. The World Gold of choice. As of July 2012, the Enough pating unequivocal success even within a Council plans to have a confl ict-free gold Project estimated that just over 20 kilo- generation. But the international focus may standard published by the end of 2012. grams of gold had been offi cially exported make the present momentum irreversible. Earlier this year, the campaigning group from eastern Congo, while up to 8 tonnes More consumers are no longer prepared Enough Project carried out a survey in Con- had gone out illegally. An added complica- to tolerate products stained with blood go’s mining areas and found that profi ts to tion is that confl ict has recently fl ared up and child labour. The muscle of legislation militia from minerals were down 65 per cent again in a fresh rebellion by the M23 rebel is forcing multinationals to clean up their from two years ago. There was far less harass- group, led by General Bosco Ntaganda who supply chains, and if that happens, warlords ment of miners by armed groups, and those has ended a fractious agreement to be part will no longer have the money to buy weap- areas certifi ed as confl ict-free were already of the Congolese army. He is already want- ons and run their militias.uni25CF seeing the benefi ts of increased wages and the ed for war crimes and is accused by the UN building of schools and health centres. of receiving military backing from neigh- Humphrey Hawksley is BBC World Affairs Gold, however, is more problematic. bouring Rwanda – a charge that Rwanda Correspondent and author ofDemocracy Kills: Many, feeling squeezed by regulations on denies. What’s So Good About Having the Vote? globalfourth quarter 2012 www.global-briefing.org l67


Global issue 12
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