Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Some Shocking Facts Behind the Mining Review Process

Click below links to view contract review reports:
Report One - PDF (French)
Report Two - PDF (French)

1. During the transition process (2003 - 2006) one third of the Congo was sold off to foreign companies without any discernible benefit to the Congo.

2. Mining titles dispensed totaled 4,542 to 642 companies.

3. 90 percent of exports from DRC are either illegal or unregulated.

4. Benefits from existing mining contracts do not account for more than 6% of the national budget. In 2002 when the country was at war the mining sector contributed as much as 30 % to the national budget.

5. Mining companies have realized gains of 600% while discernible gain to the government has not exceeded 5%.

6. Many of the companies involved in the mining review are publicly traded on the Toronto, London or New York Stock Exchanges. Some of them include Freeport-McMoRan, DeBeers, AngloAmerican, BHP Billiton.

7. The Congolese Parliament is silent on the mining contracts and the government has yet to include provincial governments and civil society.

8. Pursuant to the publication of the mining review, on Monday, March 24, 2008 the head of the Ministry of Mines, Martin Kabwelulu announced the set-up of a government panel to follow-up with the review process. It will be lead by the Minister of Agriculture.

9. A few mining companies have already intimated that they will take the DRC to international court to maintain their ill-gotten contracts.

10. As quiet as it is kept many of the government officials who signed these odious and detrimental contracts while pocketing millions of dollars are still in government including president Joseph Kabila himself. Of course the review process and follow-up does not include the pursuit of corruption charges against those involved in selling of the Congolese people's wealth.

11. Contrary to earlier statements by the Mining Ministry, the government is not going to change the Mining Code that was put in place by the World Bank in 2002. The law was clearly written in the best interest of foreign mining companies and not the Congolese people.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Carter Center Levels Critique of Mining Contracts

The Carter Center released a press release on Congo's Mining Review process. They are one of the participating institutions in the government's contract review process. The essence of their statement reinforces what has been well documented by international NGOs and Congolese civil society.

Key elements from the Carter Center's review include the following:
1. Severe and widespread problems in the contracts.
2. The contracts were made without independent valuation.
3. No provisions to ensure equitable sharing of profits.
4. There has been a lack of support of the mining review from the World Bank and foreign countries where the mining companies originate.
5. Mining companies have been unwilling to acknowledge even those problems that are manifest and undeniable.

John Reboul, of Ropes & Gray, which analyzed five of the major contracts in detail for The Carter Center, described them as "some of the most one-sided agreements I have seen in 30 years of practice."

The Carter Center suggested a number of prescriptions that will ostensibly benefit the Congolese people. Click here to read>>