International Mining Corporations and Socio-Political Conflict in the DRC - A Case Study of the Nia-Nia area, Ituri District, Province Orientale

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Whereas artisanal mining has always been a key economic activity in the region, the Nia-Nia area in the Ituri terri- tory of the oriental province of the DRC has only recently become a site of importance to the international gold mi- ning community.
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   A case study of the Nia-Nia area,Ituri District, Province Orientale  WWW.IKVPAXCHRISTI.NL/UK International mining cor    porations andsocio-political conf    lictin the DRC  ColofonOffice address:Mailing address: Godebaldkwartier 74PO Box 193183511 DZ UTRECHT3501 DH UTRECHT The NetherlandsThe Netherlands Telephone :+31 (0)30 233 33 46 Fax :+31 (0)30 236 81 99  Website:  www.ikvpaxchristi.nl/UK  E-mail: info@ikvpaxchristi.nl This analysis has been prepared by the IKV Pax Christi DR Congo Programme.  Author: Peer SchoutenSchool of Global StudiesUniversity of Gothenburg (Sweden)Peer.schouten@globalstudies.gu.se  Advisors:  Annemarie S    weerisIKV Pax Christi Photography: Peer SchoutenCover photo: Artisanal miners at the Indi carrière  near the Loncor Resources base camp, Ituri, DRCUtrecht, March 2011 This consultancy report is based on in-depth fieldwork carried out in December 2010. The views here expressed donot necessarily reflect those of IKV Pax Christi. The author would like to thank especially Adolph Maito from CPJP(Mambasa) and Salomon Zaluni and Eric Mongo from ACIAR (Bunia). 2  3 Executive summary.............................................................................................................................................................4Introduction..........................................................................................................................................................................51.Socio-economic and political dynamics in the area...............................................................................................61.1Ituri at large...............................................................................................................................................................61.2The Nia-Nia area.......................................................................................................................................................71.2.1 Ethnic composition........................................................................................................................................72.Overview of gold mining corporations in the Nia-Nia area.................................................................................92.1Loncor Resources......................................................................................................................................................92.1.1 Corporate profile............................................................................................................................................92.1.2 Current operations.........................................................................................................................................92.1.3 Security setup................................................................................................................................................102.1.4 Community relations and security implications................................................................................102.2Kilo Goldmines.......................................................................................................................................................122.2.1 Corporate profile..........................................................................................................................................122.2.2 Current operations......................................................................................................................................122.2.3 Security setup................................................................................................................................................132.2.4 Community relations and security implications................................................................................132.3Corner Stones Ressources....................................................................................................................................132.3.1 Corporate profile..........................................................................................................................................132.3.2 Current operations......................................................................................................................................142.3.3 Security setup................................................................................................................................................142.3.4 Community relations and security implications................................................................................153.Mining operations and ethnic tensions...................................................................................................................163.1FARDC at 51.............................................................................................................................................................163.2The Beru enclave....................................................................................................................................................163.3Ndaka-Budu relations...........................................................................................................................................17Conclusion & policy implications..................................................................................................................................18 Appendix 1: Detailed map of Nia-Nia area..................................................................................................................19 Table of Contents  4 Executive summary   Whereas artisanal mining has always been a key economic activity in the region, the Nia-Nia area in the Ituri terri-tory of the oriental province of the DRC has only recently become a site of importance to the international gold mi-ning community.As industrial mining in the DRC is often accompanied by socio-economic and political friction,this report, which is based on in-depth on-site fieldwork, explores the mining activities carried out by internationalmining companies and situates them in the socio-political context of the region to assess conflict potentiality andkey markers for development.In a first section, it situates the Nia-Nia area within the broader political, socio-economic and ethnic context of Ituri,to indicate that coming to grips with dynamics in Nia-Nia largely requires a unique approach as they are characte-rized by tendencies that differ from other places in Ituri.In a second section, it lays out ongoing mining activities. It finds that of the approximately 30 mining concessionsgiven out for the area by the Congolese authorities, several are currently being explored by three mining compa-nies: Loncor Resources, Kilo Goldmines, and Corner Stones Ressources (sic.). This report describes the ongoing acti- vities for each of these corporations and sums up the principal ways in which each international mining companyinteracts with the surrounding community, in each case paying specific attention to security dynamics related to itspresence.In a third section, it relates the mining companies’ community engagements and security dynamics to broader po-litical, socio-economic, and especially ethnic dynamics, to assess the conflict potentiality of the presence of each of the international mining operations. It finds that, and describes how,both community development efforts and se-curity implications of international gold mining activity in Nia-Nia on all accounts intertwine with ongoing ethnicdisputes, especially in the perception of local communities. The report pays special attention in this section to the way in which mining corporations become instrumentalized in amplifying tensions between the Ndaka and Budutribes of the adjacent Mambasa and Wamba territories.In the concluding section, the report explores some possible policy implications. First and foremost, it argues thatthe absence of mobile phone communication infrastructure allows for the current situation in which tribal actorspoliticize and instrumentalize international mining corporations for their own political, economic, and social in-terests, leading to amplified tensions and increased conflict potentiality. By extension, mining corporations and civilsociety actors should push for Congolese mobile phone networks to expand their market into the Nia-Nia area. Se-condly, the report argues that information is dually important: one the one hand, mining corporations should in-form themselves about the socio-political and ethnic dynamics of the area when formulating their communityengagement policy, and on the other hand, they should invest more in informing different civil society stakehol-ders.  5 Nia-Nia lies deep in the tropical rainforest of the DRC’s Oriental Province. Whereas artisanal gold mining has always been a key economic activity in the region, the Nia-Nia area in the Ituri district of the oriental province of the DRChas only recently become a site of importance to the international mining community. In colonial times, this area was a busy mining region: its greenstone belt connects into the famed Kilo-Moto gold mining area. After the civil warin 1964, however, industrial mining activities in the region slowed down rapidly and, ultimately, ceased completely.Only in 2009 did the first international mining companies, armed with old Belgian geological maps from the Ter- vuren Royal Museum for Central Africa, arrive in the Nia-Nia area. As even after the end of the Congo wars industrialmining in the DRC is often accompanied by socio-economic and political friction, this report explores the gold mi-ning activities carried out by international mining companies and situates them in the socio-political context of theregion to assess conflict potentiality and key markers for development.Based on the fieldwork carried out for this project, and triangulated with relevant academic literature 1 , his reportoperationalizes conflict potentiality in the Nia-Nia area as the intersection of socio-economic imbalances and poli-tical or ethnic fault lines. While political economy in the area has largely been organized along tribal 2 lines, wheneconomic imbalances—for instance bargaining power with mining companies over who’s to benefit from social pro- jects—become perceived, explained, and ultimately instrumentalized in tribal terms, ethnic fault lines risk beco-ming amplified in negative terms. In other words, when established customary agreements on entitlements to naturalresources become disturbed by the presence of external levers such as international mining companies, the poten-tial for ethnic-based conflict necessarily increases. 1 Following the academic work of Jean-François Bayart and René Lemarchand, cf. Bayart, J.-F. (2009). The state in Africa : the politics of the belly(2nd ed.). Cambridge: Polity ; Lemarchand, R. (2009). The dynamics of violence in central Africa. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 2  This report uses the terms ‘ethnic’, ‘tribal’, and ‘customary’ interchangeably; for in-depth discussion, see the first chapter of Lemarchand, op. cit. Introduction
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