Congolese gold, coltan, tin, cobalt and copper are critical to global supply chains. CEGEMI researchers have studied many different dimensions of these supply chains.
For a visual impression, take a look at this photo story by Ben Radley and photographer Robert Carrubba. It pictures the labour, production and transformation process related to artisanal gold, following it from a mine in South Kivu through to the jewellers and smelters of Bukavu. See also here in Deutsche Welle.
Due to concerns over human rights problems, child labour, environmental impact and – above all – conflict financing, minerals sourced from DRC have been under international scrutiny for the past two decades. As shown on the pages on ‘Dodd Frank and EU legislation‘ and ‘Ethical supply chain initiatives‘ CEGEMI researchers have critically examined this reality. On 17 February 2022 Sara Geenen and Bossissi Nkuba featured on Al Jazeera English to discuss the Seven Grams project. Here are some take aways : 1. Working conditions in DRCongo mines remain poor despite years of supply chain regulation, 2. There are no quick fixes to labour exploitation in global supply chains: cheap labour is not just a leak in the water pipe. It is the force that makes the water running through the pipes, 3. There are no quick fixes to labour exploitation in global supply chains: cheap labour is not just a leak in the water pipe. It is the force that makes the water running through the pipes, 4. Stop or reduce the sourcing from DRCongo is not a solution! (as long as miners have no alternative income generation) It kills miners just as much as mining accidents, 5. Not all violence is due to armed group presence & armed groups don’t depend on mining only. @IPISResearch database counts 2347 mines in East. In 847 armed groups interfere. Most = Congolese army. Interference = taxation.
A critical reading of the Globa Value Chain literature is central to Sara Geenen and Ben Radley’s article Struggles Over Value. They argue that the GVC literature on African mining fails to consider how and from whom value is transferred within the process of establishing foreign corporate-led mining GVCs, and with what consequences. Based on a Congolese case study they argue that a coalition between transnational capital and the Congolese state has marginalised and held back locally-led processes of capital accumulation and mining mechanisation.