Democratic Republic of Congo


IMPACT in Democratic Republic of Congo


Our work in DRC focuses on providing technical guidance to develop new approaches to natural resource management.

IMPACT has field operations in DRC implementing the Just Gold project, as well as our Francophone team for the Great Lakes region is based in the country. We have offices in Kinshasa, as well as Ituri Province—Bunia and Mambasa.


The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is known for its abundance of natural resources, with the link between how the mismanagement of natural resources has fueled and sustained conflict in DRC is well documented by IMPACT, the UN Group of Experts, and others.

Peace and sustainable development are still elusive in the country, with the military, armed groups, tied to the exploitation of mineral resources and mining communities.

Despite its great mineral wealth, most of the 77.3 million population in DRC lives in poverty, lacking stable income, education, health, and living standards such as access to potable water, high child mortality rates, and low life expectancy. Additionally, deforestation poses a serious environmental challenge in DRC.

Today, natural resources are the largest contributor to DRC’s economy. The World Bank estimates that 10 million Congolese depend on artisanal mining to support their livelihoods. Systemic corruption enables mismanagement of resources and ongoing insecurity. DRC struggles with the illicit trade of its minerals, losing important tax revenue. According to the UN Group of Experts, 98% of artisanal gold production in DRC is undeclared and smuggled out of the country.

In recent years, DRC has taking steps to transform its natural resource management systems. DRC is a member of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and in 2010, the country’s President, with 11 other Heads of State approved the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (RINR). In 2014, DRC became the second ICGLR Member State to issue certificates through the Regional Certification Mechanism, a compulsory regional standard that certifies tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold sourced is conflict-free.

Additionally, DRC is a member of the Kimberley Process and is required to put in place internal controls that certify the origin of its rough diamonds are conflict-free.


Resources

DRC’s has a wealth of natural resources including diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, 3Ts, oil, and water.



We Reveal

Our research in the Great Lakes region investigates the drivers of the illicit trade of conflict-prone minerals and highlights recommendations for ICGLR Member States, including DRC. We examine issues such as formalization of the artisanal mining sector including its gendered impacts, women’s economic empowerment, fiscal reform, harmonization of legislation, and strengthening of internal controls to end smuggling.

We also provided analysis of certification, traceability, and due diligence as it applies to conflict-prone minerals in the Great Lakes region. In 2011, we published Taming the Resource Curse: Implementing the ICGLR Certification Mechanism for Conflict-prone Minerals that outlined a certification mechanism for 3TG based on best practices. The mechanism was approved as part of the Lusaka Declaration which was signed by all the Heads of State of the ICGLR, including DRC’s President, in December 2010.

We’ve also undertaken extensive research in DRC examining women’s livelihoods and barriers to women’s empowerment in the artisanal mining sector in the country—and the region.

Promoting environmental concerns and community health, we’ve collaborated with the United Nations Environment Programme on environmental assessments of artisanal gold mine sites promoting mine site safety and environmental mitigation measures, including recommendations for reduced mercury usage.

We Innovate

As part of our work to transform mineral supply chains, we’ve led efforts to support traceability and due diligence, while promoting benefits for DRC’s miners and their communities.

Since 2005, we’ve worked with the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to address the illegal exploitation of conflict-prone minerals—a regional initiative that DRC is a member of. As a technical partner to the ICGLR, we are supporting the implementation of the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources.

We provide technical guidance to DRC’s Ministry of Mines on implementing the six tools which include the Regional Certification Mechanism, the Regional Database on Mineral Flows, and formalizing the artisanal mining sector. We’ve advised on the national legislation that brought the Regional Certification Mechanism into law into DRC, and are supporting its implementation.

We provide capacity building and sensitization to policymakers from DRC, as well as members of its industry, and civil society on their role to ensure that traceability and due diligence are carried out in accordance with national legislation and in alignment with regional and international standards. As part of our efforts we trained mine site inspectors as well as other officials and supply chain actors on customs and export procedures.

Through our collaboration with the Great Lakes Region Civil Society Coalition against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (COSOC-GL), we provide training to our civil society partners in DRC for ongoing independent monitoring of traceability and due diligence implementation for 3TG. As well as we support and spotlight their capacity for producing technical and independent assessments of supply chain integrity.

Additionally, through our collaboration with the KP Civil Society Coalition, we provide support to our partners in DRC to participate in the KP, as well as support and spotlight their capacity for independent monitoring of KP internal controls and due diligence in the diamond sector.

Just Gold

Our efforts to support the formalization of the artisanal mining sector, while promoting traceability and due diligence implementation, led to the launch of the Just Gold project in DRC. While there had been advances in the 3T sector, no traceability and due diligence system was in existence for artisanal gold sourced from conflict and high-risk areas, in accordance with regional and international standards.

The Just Gold project is the first to successfully trace conflict-free and legal artisanal gold from mine site to export, applying regional and international standards applicable to conflict-affected and high-risk areas. In 2017, a Canadian jeweller partnered with the Just Gold project and offered the first consumer goods out of conflict-free artisanal gold from DRC that were fully traced from mine to consumer.

Through the Just Gold project, we are providing technical assistance and training to artisanal miners that can improve their gold yields. We also provide training on reducing mercury and implementing mine site safety.

Artisanal Mining Women’s Empowerement Credit and Savings

The Artisanal Mining Women’s Empowerment Credit and Saving project (AFECCOR), supports women and men in artisanal gold mining communities to access savings and credit, promoting entrepreneurship and economic security. AFECCOR also seeks to decrease their reliance on informal credit networks that characterizes the “gold economy,” which uses gold as currency to cover basic needs and mine site operations, often with unfavourable conditions. By severing the links with informal and illicit financing, AFECCOR endeavours to provide yet another incentive for legal and responsible trade of artisanal gold.

Gender Assessment

Additionally, we’re providing sensitization across the country at the local, regional, and national levels on the findings of our research and recommendations to improve women’s opportunities in the sector. Through the Just Gold project, we’re piloting a Gender Assessment tool that would enable stakeholder to integrate gender equality during the implementation of filed level projects providing artisanal mining technical assistance and formalization.

We Engage

We drive dialogue with our partners in DRC, including policymakers and the private sector to implement traceability and due diligence, as well to ensure benefits reach miners and their communities.

Through our partnership with the KP Civil Society Coalition and COSOC-GL, civil society from DRC and the Great Lakes region brings the voices and concerns of artisanal miners to industry and governments. Together, we engage governments to strengthen their internal controls, and encourage the private sector to put in place due diligence for their mineral supply chains.



Recent Highlights


Artisanal Mining Women’s Empowerment Credit and Savings (AFECCOR)

The Artisanal Mining Women’s Empowerment Credit & Savings project (AFECCOR) supports women and men in artisanal gold mining communities to access savings and credit in an effort to promote entrepreneurship and economic security.

Civil Society Toolkit on Supply Chain Risks

In collaboration with the Great Lakes Region Civil Society Coalition against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (COSOC-GL), IMPACT has developed a toolkit for civil society to monitor and report on risks in the supply chain.

Gender Assessments

IMPACT is developing Gender Assessment tools to provide step-by-step guidance on integrating gender and human rights into mineral policies and projects, including those that support the formalization of the artisanal and small-scale (ASM) mining sector.

ICGLR Regional Certification Mechanism Implementation

IMPACT supports the implementation of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Regional Certification Mechanism and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance. We provide technical support and training so that ICGLR Member States can effectively meet international and regional standards and ensure their minerals are conflict-free.

ICGLR Regional Database on Mineral Flows

IMPACT is supporting the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to operationalize the Regional Database on Mineral Flows as part of its efforts to end the illicit trade of conflict-prone minerals.

Just Gold

IMPACT’s Just Gold project is the first to successfully trace conflict-free and legal artisanal gold from mine site to export while applying regional and international standards applicable to conflict-affected and high-risk areas.

Women in Artisanal & Small-Scale Mining in Central and East Africa

Women in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) in Central and East Africa is IMPACT’s ground-breaking research project studying the role of women in the artisanal mining sector and opportunities for their empowerment.


Women in ASM in DRC: Recommendations to address challenges

November 2017

This brief highlights key recommendations to address challenges women face in the artisanal mining sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo and increase opportunities for their empowerment.

Download the brief

Women in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining: Democratic Republic of Congo

July 2017

This brief highlights key findings of research studying the role of women in the artisanal mining sector. It provides a snapshot of challenges and opportunities for women’s empowerment in artisanal mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Only available in French.

Download the brief

Gender and Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in Central and East Africa: Barriers and Benefits

July 2017

A working paper produced on key findings of research into women and artisanal mining in the Great Lakes region, by Partnership Africa Canada, Carleton University, and Development Research and Policy Analysis Center for the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program.

Download the report

Contraband Gold in the Great Lakes Region: In-region Cross-border Gold Flows Versus Out-region Smuggling

May 2015

This report analyzes the artisanal gold flows within and out of the Great Lakes Region with the perspective of promoting responsible supply chain management in the context of the ICGLR Regional Initiative on Natural Resources and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance.

Download the report

Women in the Artisanal Gold Mining Sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo

November 2014

Key findings from field research aimed at understanding the roles women play in artisanal gold mining in Democratic Republic of Congo. The research seeks to identify how the informal nature of the gold trade amplifies women’s vulnerabilities, as well as how the introductions of formalization and certification mechanisms could either present new opportunities or further contribute to their marginalization.

Download the report

All That Glitters is Not Gold: Dubai, Congo, and the Illicit Trade of Conflict Minerals

May 2014
This report is a contribution to a growing body of research that seeks to better understand the illicit trade of gold and diamonds emanating from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the role industry and state actors play – primarily in neighbouring countries and the United Arab Emirates – in facilitating this illegality.
Download the report

Taming the Resource Curse: Implementing the ICGLR Certification Mechanism for Conflict-prone Minerals

March 2011
This report prepared by PAC for the ICGLR and released in March 2011, describes the regional certification mechanism (RCM) for tracking high value and conflict prone minerals in Africa’s Great Lakes region. Based on lessons learned from other certification mechanisms, particularly the Kimberley Process, it promotes key principles that will make for a stronger and more effective regulatory scheme for four minerals—namely gold, coltan, tungsten and tin.
Download the report

New Research on Congo’s Artisanal Mining Sector: Policies Need to Include Women

Policymakers from the Ministry of Mines, private sector, and civil society are meeting to address challenges and opportunities…

Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) is now IMPACT: Organization with Offices in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo Takes On New Name

  Kampala, Uganda / Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo—November 22, 2017 After 30 years, Partnership Africa Canada (PAC)…

Meet Josephine and Zawadi: Women Artisanal Miners in Democratic Republic of Congo

Meet Josephine Kibondo and Moza Zawadi, two women artisanal gold miners in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri Province.…

Jeweller Completes First Export of Responsible & Conflict-Free Artisanal Gold from Eastern Congo to Canada

First time any consumer good will be made out of conflict-free artisanal gold from Congo that is fully…

First Responsible and Conflict-Free Artisanal Gold Supply Chain Operational in Eastern Congo

The Just Gold project is the first to successfully trace conflict-free and legal artisanal gold from mine site…

International Women’s Day: Partnership Africa Canada Announces Women-Led Microcredit Project

AFECCOR will provide microcredit and savings services to Just Gold pilot project participants, while creating economic opportunities for…

US Suspension of Conflict Minerals Rule Threatens Progress towards Conflict-Free Supply Chains

February 10, 2017—Ottawa, Canada A reported move by the new United States administration to issue an Executive Order…

Despite Last Minute Overtures, Civil Society Boycotts Conflict Diamond Meeting in Dubai

“Rigour” Needed in Kimberley Process Chair’s Newest Proposals Ottawa, Canada—November 10, 2016 Civil society who are members of…

Democratic Republic of Congo Recognizes Partnership Africa Canada’s Just Gold Pilot Project in a Memorandum of Understanding

October 11, 2016 – Ottawa, Canada / Kinshasa, Democratic Repubic of Congo Partnership Africa Canada has signed a…

Civil society statement at the 10th Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains, Paris, 10-12 May 2016

National and international civil society organisations working to advance transparency and accountability in supply chains welcome this 10th…

Workshop in Ituri Aims to Strengthen Certification Efforts for Conflict Minerals

March 22, 2016 – Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo / Ottawa, Canada Provincial policymakers, mining officials, exporters, and…

First Congolese Gold Exporter Takes Decisive Action to Carry out Due Diligence: Opens its Doors to International Markets

February 15, 2016 – Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo / Ottawa, Canada A gold exporter in the Democratic…

New Reports on Artisanal Diamond Mining in Côte d'Ivoire and Democratic Republic of Congo

Social Survey Report into Artisanal Diamond Mining Sites in Kasaï-Oriental Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo presents…

Civil Society Boycotts Conflict Diamonds Certification Scheme

Civil Society Boycotts Conflict Diamonds Certification Scheme Appointing UAE as Chair of Kimberley Process is “Red Line” Luanda,…

Civil Society Coalition Speech at KP Intersessional - June 2014

June 10, 2014 Today at the Kimberley Process Intersessional in Shanghai, China, PAC’s research director, Alan Martin, delivered…

All That Glitters is Not Gold: Dubai, Congo, and the Illicit Trade of Conflict Minerals

May 27, 2014 Dear Friend, Partnership Africa Canada is pleased to provide you with a copy of its…

PAC and the ICGLR sign a Memorandum of Understanding

PAC and the ICGLR sign a Memorandum of Understanding defining areas of cooperation with regard to the Initiative…

Partnership Africa Canada Welcomes First ICGLR-Certified Conflict-Free Mineral Certificates from Rwanda

Ottawa, Canada /Kigali, DRC -November 15, 2013 A leading international organization working in the conflict free mineral sector…

Opening Comments to the Kimberley Process Intersessional

Please see attached for the opening comments from the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition, given at Kimbereley Process…

Kimberley Process lets Zimbabwe off the hook (again)

November 2, 2011 The Kimberley Process (KP) has thrown away its main point of leverage over the Zimbabwean…

Civil society expresses vote of no confidence in conflict diamond scheme

June 23, 2011 Activist organisations today expressed a vote of no confidence in the Kimberley Process, and walked…

Electronics, auto makers should commit now to due diligence standards to end trade in conflict minerals

Goma/Kinshasa/London/Ottawa/Paris/Washington- May 26, 2011 The organizations CENADEP – Kinshasa, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, Enough Project, Global Witness, Partnership Africa Canada,…

Canadian organization launches publication on new certification scheme for African conflict minerals

Ottawa– March 23, 2011 A new report that outlines how to develop a regional certification mechanism for tracking…

Diamond meeting ends without consensus on Zimbabwe

Serious challenges ahead for landmark certification scheme, say NGOs June 24, 2010 The lack of consensus among Kimberley…

Rights groups express outrage at state persecution of Zimbabwean activists

June 2, 2010 Civil Society organisations, including Global Witness, Human Rights Watch, and Partnership Africa Canada, today condemned…

Failure to suspend Zimbabwe from blood diamond scheme undermines efforts to end abuses and clean up international trade

November 6, 2009 The Kimberley Process (KP) rough diamond certification scheme failed to reach a consensus to suspend…

Global Diamond Certification System Failing

Smuggling, human rights abuse and government inaction threaten global scheme, says Canadian NGO October 15, 2009 The Kimberley…

Diamond meeting makes some progress but governments need to renew commitments, say Civil Society Groups

June 26, 2009 A coalition of civil society organisations acknowledged some progress at the close of the sixth…

Blood diamonds - time to plug the leaks

Civil Society Groups warn Kimberley Process effectiveness compromised June 19, 2009 A landmark scheme established in 2003 to…