The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is an emerging democracy that still bears the scars of civil conflict, political instability and economic stagnation . The physical and institutional infrastructure of the country is in challenging conditions, and much of the economic activity lies in the informal sector.
Katanga was among the first Western companies to invest in the DRC after the civil war. We believe the country’s vast mineral resources represent a tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of Congolese citizens while creating value for our stakeholders.
We are committed to working with the DRC government and other stakeholders to address the challenges of operating in this unique environment.
Social needs and the role of government
We recognize the legitimate and primary role of government in the development, funding and rebuilding of social and economic infrastructure and environment .However, in line with our corporate responsibility strategy, we are strongly committed in contributing actively to this process and support country programs and long-term vision on socio-economic development.
We will continue to invest in country’s critical infrastructure and in key areas for community development, such as healthcare, education and sustainable livelihoods. By running an efficient and profitable mining operation we will also generate taxes and royalties that will help fund this process.
Currently, it is very difficult to estimate the exact number of artisanal and small-scale miners located in the Kolwezi region, as the sector is still highly informal and characterized by weak organizational structure. Participants often expose themselves to harsh and precarious working and living conditions and compete with surrounding communities for the access to scarce and critical resources, such as land and water, determining a significant impact on community health and environment.
Our company is fully aware of the socio-economic implications and challenges related to informal artisanal mining; this is the reason we constantly engage with different stakeholders (government, mining companies, and local authorities) in order to exchange experiences and ideas on possible common approaches.
Katanga has endorsed the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which aims to strengthen governance by improving transparency and accountability in the extractives sector. The EITI sets a global standard for companies to publish what they pay in taxes and royalties and for governments to disclose what they receive. Read more at www.eitransparency.org.
We will participate in the DRC’s in-country EITI process together with the government, other extractive companies and civil society to ensure that the socio-economic benefits resulting from our operations accrue to the local population and the country as a whole.