Government concerned about making artisanal mining a respectful activity in DRC

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Kinshasa, March 18th, 2021 (CPA) – The Minister in charge of Mines, Willy Kitobo Samsoni, has reaffirmed the government’s concern to make artisanal mining a sustainable, ethical and human rights-respecting activity in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Minister in charge of Mines affirmed this on Wednesday at the opening of the workshop to present the results of the study conducted by PACT-RDC NGO on the fight against modern slavery in mineral supply chains in Democratic Republic of Congo supplying the industries of the United Kingdom, adding that this concern remains constant especially as this mining activity occupies thousands of Congolese especially unemployed.

He recalled on the occasion all the actions undertaken by the government in the mining sector to combat this social scourge by setting up an interministerial commission to combat child labor in artisanal mines, « CISTEMA », the adherence of DRC, through the ministry of mines, to the alliance 8.7 and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights in the Extractive Sector.

Mr. Kitobo took the opportunity to thank the President of the Republic, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, for his vision of the fight against all forms of modern slavery in artisanal mining, a vision materialized by the government through the Ministry in charge of Mines through actions to strengthen and raise awareness of the regulation of artisanal mining activities of strategic mineral substances such as cobalt and ores of  » 3T ”coveted and highly sought after in the global electronics industry and in the manufacture of batteries for electric cars.

For her part, the representative of the United Kingdom Ambassador in DRC thanked the Minister in charge of Mines for his support for this initiative on the fight against modern slavery and supply chains in DRC, before welcoming PACT NGO for the organization of this event. She stressed that UK is committed to ending this form of slavery in the world by 2030, recalling that in March 2020, UK had become the first country to issue a declaration of the modern government over modern slavery.

Mr. Yves Bawa, Regional Director of PACT in the Great Lakes sub-region, said that “PACT” is a non-profit International Development Organization, which works on the ground in nearly 40 countries for the improving the living conditions of those facing poverty, stressing that their structure develops systemic solutions in partnership with organizations, businesses as well as local governments that create sustainable and resilient communities.

SG of Mines for the operationalization of the Agency for the Prevention of Human Trafficking

The General Secretary of Mines, Joseph Ikoli Yombo, expressed the wish on behalf of the supervisory ministry and CISTEMA to see cooperation with British industries strengthened, through the British Embassy in DRC, before making some recommendations in particular on the operationalization of the agency for the prevention of the fight against human trafficking, recently created by the Head of State Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, in particular, that the British electronic industries can contribute to the constitution of the Special Fund zero tolerance to fight against child labor which constitutes a form of modern slavery and in the viability of « ZEA ».

He added that this study which encourages the green energy revolution led by the mineral wealth of DRC is not done at the expense of modern slavery, but that it benefits the country and its artisanal mining communities, before to underline the importance of capitalizing on the multiple interventions of the partners in particular, the United Kingdom embassy in DRC. ACP/Kayu