Dossier

Published on février 16th, 2019 | by nresources

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Resurgence of blood ores In the DRC? : THE AMERICAN AVX COMPANY IS TESTED

The Bisunzu Mining Company (SMB) ignores the regulation of the exploitation and trade of 3 T ores (tungsten, tin, tantalum) in the international market. All the damage benefits his partner AVX. The SMB has just crossed the Rubicon by slamming the door of the ITSCI traceability system under the pretext that the costs are very high with this system. This company exploited for years the block granted to it in the concession of SAKIMA in the territory of Masisi in North Kivu. By methods that rhyme with human rights abuses and the mafia, the SMB has managed to significantly increase its production, becoming the Number one in the tin industry in the country.

While several initiatives have been put in place to eradicate conflict minerals, the SMB is moving away from the Dodd Frank Act and the OECD’s due diligence.

Its approach is to subscribe to the facilities offered by neighboring countries through very dubious traceability mechanisms. The SMB wants to hold a monopoly in the traffic of stanniferous ores in the DRC. However, competition is one of the principles of the economy market. Its intention to evade control of the DRC is an obstacle to transparency and traceability in the mining industry. What is now punished in the DRC under Article 311 of the Mining Code in force. Such behavior also undermines the credibility of AVX his partner, whose country has been at the root of traceability initiatives to save the supply chain of minerals from conflict zones. He risks seeing his products banned from the international market.

Bonus to criminals?

The de facto rights acquired by the SMB during the war for the exploitation of ores in the SAKIMA concession in Rubaya have been formalized with the Sun City Global and Inclusive Agreement, one of the consequences of which has been the maintenance in the state of certain previous commitments. In this context, the SMB was granted an island of 32 squares in the concession of SAKIMA, evaluated at 360 squares, under the PE 4731. From a few tons at the beginning, the production of the SMB is now close to hundred tons a year

Popular in the electronics and aerospace industries, coltan has experienced restrictions like the blood diamond, because of the 2010 Dodd Frank Law that forces all US companies listed on Wall Street to check their supply chains and to prove in a report that their minerals are not related to the war. It is also in this spirit that the OECD Guide on Due Diligence was adopted. It requires companies to take steps to verify that the minerals they buy have no connection to armed conflict or contribute to human rights violations, including child labor or other forms of violence. . This is how ITSCI certification was born at the initiative of the World Association of Tin Consumers. The DRC, the first coltan tank joined the ITSCI system. The country has signed a memorandum of understanding with ITRI LTD. However, while operating in the DRC, the SMB has distinguished itself in human rights violations. Incidents recorded in his concession caused death of men in the mine. She extorted exported minerals without paying the traders. Sometimes the SMB has paid unfair prices to traders. She made death threats to others. This list is not exhaustive, as this company has become a champion in corruption and trading in influence to try to keep a monopoly on Masisi ores. It should be added that this company has never hesitated to use elements of the Armed Forces of the DRC to intimidate and extort the minerals of traders and diggers. COOPERAMA and many others know something about it as evidenced by the many lawsuits that have often opposed them to the SMB. The latter has also been illustrated by false accusations and allegations of theft of minerals in its concession by other mining operators. (The SMB has lodged a complaint against more than one mining operator in Kivu but has never won a single case, it is rather the director of the SMB, Ben Mwanga Chuchu who was sentenced to 3 years of criminal liability and damages in a case against a mining operator in the area (Judgment RP.1141 / CD of the Goma Peace Tribunal) .The concession of SAKIMA was at one time encroachment by the SMB which was removed from the Rubaya Center which is in the SAKIMA concession after a demarcation made by the Mining Cadastre (CAMI) at the request of the Goma Public Prosecutor’s Office. of the SMB, the Congolese government has struggled with its commitments to ITSCI, the OECD and other regional and international traceability mechanisms.

Who is behind the SMB?

unsubmission, insubordination and acts of sabotage vis-à-vis authority. While the state is struggling to implement the new Mining Code in order to benefit the Congolese benefits of mining, the SMB has just thrown a pavement in the fed up. In a correspondence dated December 13, 2018, Director-General Ben Mwanga Chuchu informs Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu of his decision to withdraw from ITSCI in 30 days because of “his company’s inability to cope with very high costs of traceability costs “. Yet this is the system that the Congolese state has adopted. Can an individual be stronger than the state? It is nothing more than an act of sabotage, a great obstacle to transparency and traceability. A flagrant violation of Article 311 of the Mining Code. How can we believe that the SMB is committed to the implementation of traceability and the exercise of the duty of care while evading the system? What a lie! SMB appears as an outlaw. And, this business is not at its first package. She has had several recriminations for years. Repeatedly reprimanded and summoned by the authorities, sentenced by justice in Goma, accused of insolvency and fraud by artisanal diggers, the SMB considers itself untouchable and unassailable. It looks like it is evolving on another planet.

A leap forward

The SMB’s decision reflects its fear after its self-exclusion from due diligence. She was therefore unmasked. She has quarreled with the Congo Cooperative and was sentenced by the Goma Peace Tribunal last July. Riots and death of men were recorded in its operation area with the consequence, the temporary closure of the mine by Minister Kabwelulu. A decision that the company did not want to submit to. The SMB is also accused of insolvency and to take control of artisanal minerals. There is more. It is curious that an industrial company has remained in contentious purchases of artisanal production. With competition will the SMB resist?

AVX and the Congolese government at the edge of the abyss

The conduct of the SMB is unorthodox. However, she signed an exclusive contract with AVX, a company using Masisi coltan for the manufacture of electronic components that are used by Apple, Intel, Boeing, Samsung and many other companies. The SMB has distinguished itself in human rights violations, fraud, bribery, trading in influence, the use of soldiers to intimidate diggers, the encroachment of the SAKIMA concession, the denunciation, slander, damaging imputations, and so on. Who is really behind this incivable business? Other times, other manners: Today, the President of the Republic, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi who wants to give the Congolese benefit from the exploitation of their natural resources, will he let this impunity continue?

It should be noted that the DRC had had to make a lot of effort with its partners to wash its minerals from the label of the blood ores that stuck to their skin, for their credibility on the international market. Letting them return to this status would be a waste.

Any wise observer of the situation in Masisi will understand that the SMB is at the heart of several scandals after getting rich on the backs of diggers who have provided it with thousands of tons since it subscribed to the iTSCi process. This puts AVX in difficulty who has an exclusive contract with the SMB. Instead of the minerals of Masisi giving hope to the people, it is rather desolation. Note that AVX Corporation is a US manufacturer of electronic components headquartered in Fountain Inn, South Carolina.

Should AVX and the Congolese State continue to endorse an intentional violation of the country’s laws and international regulations? The SMB leaves the iTSCi Traceability System because it wants to get around the damage done in the course of its activities and not because of the prices of this program as indicated by one of its agents who requested anonymity. If the Congolese government and AVX continue to turn a blind eye to the law-abiding practices of this lawless enterprise, they may face serious consequences.

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