The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is an emerging democracy that still bears the scars of civil conflict, political instability and economic neglect. The physical and institutional infrastructure of the country is in a debilitated condition, 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 believe that private industry cannot, and should not, replace the legitimate role of government in the development, funding and rebuilding of infrastructure and social services. By running an efficient and profitable mining operation we will generate taxes and royalties that will help fund this process.
However, the balance between government responsibility and good corporate citizenship is a fine one, particularly in a post-conflict environment. The majority of government capacity within the DRC has been dedicated to high-level reconstruction efforts, leaving few resources to focus on meaningful social development initiatives on a local level. As a socially responsible company, Katanga will continue to provide support for rebuilding the country’s social infrastructure in key areas of mutual need such as healthcare, infrastructure, economic diversification and education.
There are an estimated 20,000 artisanal and small-scale miners located in the Kolwezi region. Participants in the informal sector often expose themselves to harsh working and living conditions. Together with other companies, Katanga co-funded and participated in an International Finance Corporation (Comm Dev) sponsored research program, the results of which guide our plans to manage the artisanal mining issue in the region.
To assist in the transition away from artisanal mining, Katanga is committed to finding sustainable alternative employment opportunities through our community investment program. This includes the revitalization of a 30-hectare farm into a self-sustaining and independent cooperative for former artisanal miners and other community members.
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.
To safeguard the integrity of our employees and property in a country where the rule of law is still developing, we employ private security guards. To ensure Katanga’s security personnel operate within a framework that ensures respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, their rigorous training references the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR). Similarly, private security contractors working on our behalf are committed to abiding by these principles. Read more at www.voluntaryprinciples.org.