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This photo, taken at Place de L'Indentite in Lubumbashi, shows the Katanguien Identity monument, 22 May 2016. AFP/Junior Kannah
Report 239 / Africa

Katanga: Tensions in DRC's Mineral Heartland

​As the regime keeps delaying an encounter with the electorate, growing tensions and state repression in Congo’s resource-rich Katanga may be the precursor of a violent escalation. Without a credible national dialogue and better working relations between the central government and new provinces, the country could descend into a crisis reminiscent of the late 1990s.​

Executive Summary

Katanga is at the heart of growing political tension in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Intentionally stalled preparations for elections scheduled for November and rushed, politicised implementation of decentralisation and break-up of some provinces (découpage), including Katanga, have fuelled tensions between the region and centre and between the opposition and President Joseph Kabila’s ruling majority. This assumed an overtly political dimension after the former Katanga governor, Moïse Katumbi, declared his candidacy for president, provoking Kabila to initiate investigations and issue a warrant for his arrest for undermining national security. The Congo’s fragile institutions are under great strain. A credible national dialogue to discuss how to manage a transition, a commitment not to change the constitution for political purposes or prolong the transition to preserve the status quo, and measurable progress toward elections are urgently needed. To avoid prolonged crisis and likely violence, the UN and international partners should help facilitate and build on African Union attempts to support a dialogue.

Katanga has been at the centre of the DRC’s tumultuous political history, as the seat of a failed secessionist movement at independence and as a key battleground in the second Congo war (1997-2003). Under Kabila père, then son Joseph, who succeeded him on his death in 2001, Katangans have held many critical positions in government and the security forces. Dissatisfaction with Joseph Kabila has been growing since the 2011 elections, in Katanga as elsewhere. One factor, failure to finance provincial administrations properly, has been compounded in Katanga by a sense of entitlement based on the huge contribution its mineral exports make to the national budget. This took a political turn in 2014, when Katumbi and other important local elites, mostly ex-Kabila allies, came out against the president’s apparent plans to keep power after his second – and according to the constitution final – term expires in December 2016. The central government has increased repression and augmented the already heavy military presence in the region.

In early 2015, partly in reaction to the growing opposition, the government decided to implement découpage, as foreseen in the 2010 constitution, increasing the number of provinces from eleven to 26. Katanga was split into four new provinces. While some local elites welcome the opportunity to run their own administrations, many in Katanga are unhappy at what they see as a divide and rule strategy. The découpage was rushed, ill planned, under-resourced and coincided with a budget crisis, due mostly to the drop in demand for Katanga’s minerals.

Katumbi’s emergence as a prominent Kabila opponent coincided with a split in the ruling majority, of which he was part. The opposition is strengthened but also fractured. On 4 May 2016, Katumbi declared his candidacy in the presidential elections that are still some way off, further heightening tensions. The announcement that he was being investigated prompted widespread demonstrations in Lubumbashi, Katanga’s major city, and the would-be candidate left the country for medical checks.

The looming national crisis is already damaging weak political trust and may manifest itself through an upsurge in armed violence, protest, increased state repression and even security force fractures. All these may occur, and some have already, in Katanga, which is likely to be a major arena for violent political struggle and a symbol of wider problems. Serious tensions exist there between communities, especially local ethnic groups, migrants and the internally displaced (IDPs), who increased from 50,000 to 500,000 between 2011 and 2014. The economic downturn will also increase resentments and make problems harder to solve.

A crisis that could pose a serious challenge to stability in the region, and to international peacekeeping efforts, needs to be headed off. While national politics is increasingly zero-sum as the electoral deadline nears, some actors, including at local level, still have a strong interest in cooling the temperature to prevent conflict emerging. Early measures against unaccountable armed groups, and especially against those who encourage them, could avoid a greater problem later on. Politicians should desist from using armed groups to pressure their opponents, and national authorities should act, with support from the UN Stabilisation Mission (MONUSCO) to discourage them from doing so. MONUSCO should use its leverage to encourage this and deploy more assets to Katanga, especially human rights monitors and police. But this leverage is diminishing, and confronted with a gathering storm, other more radical options, such as downsizing the mission, may eventually have to be considered.

To address distrust between the centre and provinces, financial flows need to be more regular, transparent and in line with statutes. National auditors and civil society must be better empowered to monitor these flows and their use. Resolving the DRC’s national and provincial problems ultimately requires trust and dialogue, as well as electoral progress. The stalled dialogue initiative, mediated by Edem Kodjo of the African Union (AU), should be pursued and other channels of communication kept open to allow elite-level talks on national and provincial interests. Congo’s internation­al partners should support dialogue, as the AU is doing, and ensure that the critical question of centre-province relations is kept on the table.

I. Introduction: The National Context

Map of Katanga CRISIS GROUP

This report examines links between long-term tensions in the Katanga region and the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) linked to the constitutional and electoral deadline at the end of 2016.[fn]In this report, Katanga refers to the area that was Katanga province until July 2015.Hide Footnote  President Joseph Kabila, in power since his father’s January 2001 assassination, has been elected in 2006 and 2011. The latter vote was controversial, marred by fraud and manipulation. A constitutional amendment early that year, favoured him, as it allowed a candidate with a plurality but less than 50 per cent of the vote to avoid a run-off in which the opposition could have united behind a single candidate. Constitutional amendments also increased the power of the central government over the provinces. However, the constitution still unequivocally limits the president to two terms.[fn]President Kabila was declared the winner, with 48.95 per cent of the vote. Etienne Tshisekedi was runner-up with 32.33 per cent. Article 70 establishes a five-year term, renewable once. Article 220 prohibits the revision of Article 70.Hide Footnote

Kabila’s mandate, therefore, should end in December 2016, but there is neither the financial resources nor political will to hold elections in November, and the electoral timetable is in disarray. The ruling majority (henceforth “the majority” in this report), an alliance of parties built around the president’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD, the largest in parliament), appears unwilling to relinquish power or face the electorate.

After failing in 2014 to amend the constitution to allow Kabila to stand for a third term, it turned to delaying elections, first by insisting on a prior national census. When this failed, due to sustained popular outcry in early 2015, the majority concentrated on delaying preparation and funding of elections. Updating the voter register, the most time-consuming requirement, has made almost no progress. Kabila’s government, a seasoned observer has noted, seems determined to “boycott its own election”.[fn]Kris Berwouts, “La République démocratique du Congo: de la fin de règne au règne sans fin?”, IFRI Notes, July 2016, p. 5. The last census was in 1984. The parliament’s allocation of seats depends on the number of registered voters. Berwouts, “DR Congo’s electoral process is at an impasse. Here are 3 scenarios for what comes next”, AfricanArguments.org, 22 May 2016.Hide Footnote  With only months to the end of the president’s legal mandate, the polls’ slippage (glissement) has become inevitable. The calculations of the Electoral Commission (CENI) suggest a delay of up to several years. The regime’s plans to stay in power were given legal cover by the Constitutional Court’s May ruling that the president could remain until an elected successor was installed.[fn]Crisis Group interview, CENI president and vice president, diplomats, Kinshasa, March 2016. “RDC: Joseph Kabila autorisé à s’accrocher au pouvoir”, Afrikarabia.com, 12 May 2016.Hide Footnote

As discontent grew in early 2015, the government suddenly prioritised implementation of long-planned decentralisation. This started with creation of 21 new provinces carved out of six of the existing eleven, a process known as découpage. Fully implemented by July, it was poorly planned and chaotically administered, adding to delays in both national and local elections. In March 2016, existing provincial assemblies indirectly elected governors for the new provinces, a process that took place under tight regime control and firmly established Kabila’s dominance of the new provinces.[fn]Découpage is discussed in more detail in Chapter III below.Hide Footnote  For new provinces, existing provincial assembly members formed assemblies according to their constituencies, then elected governors.

In the course of 2015, the government announced a national dialogue on the electoral process. Most of the opposition has refused to take part, arguing it would legitimise delays or demanding broad international engagement and guarantees. The dialogue has, however, become an integral part of the international attempt to avoid a deepening of the political crisis. The African Union (AU) announced support in January 2016 and in April appointed former Togolese Prime Minister Edem Kodjo as facilitator. The need for a dialogue was also included in UN Security Council Res­olution 2277 (March 2016). In June, an international support group was created for the facilitation.[fn]“Inaugural Meeting of the Support Group for the Facilitation of the National Dialogue in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, AU press release, 4 July 2016. The Group includes: the AU, UN, European Union (EU), the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).Hide Footnote  Other international reactions to the current blocked situation have been more forthright, including the imposition on 26 June of bilateral sanctions by the U.S. on the chief of police of Kinshasa, Celestin Kanyama.

Kabila’s attempts to keep power have been resisted by both the “old” opposition around Etienne Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) and former allies, such as Vital Kamerhe. In 2015, the opposition received a boost with the defection of Moïse Katumbi, the former Katanga governor, and several important parties from the majority bloc, which formed the “G7” coalition.

Opposition and civil society organisations have sought greater unity. The former continues to struggle over whether to present a single candidate in an eventual election and whether to participate in the national dialogue.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, politicians, diplomats and civil society members, Brussels, Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Bukavu, Goma, February-March 2016.Hide Footnote  The “Citizen Front 2016”, established in December 2015, was the first attempt to create a platform bringing political and social actors together, but it faltered because of strategic differences and distrust.[fn]The “Front citoyen 2016”, grouping parties, civil society organisations and individuals, formed in Senegal in December 2015. Floribert Anzuluni, also coordinator of the Filimbi youth organisation, coordinates it. Tweet by @SalomonKalonda (political adviser to Katumbi), 4 January 2016; “RDC: Moïse Katumbi annonce son appartenance à l’opposition”, Radio Okapi, 3 January 2016. Katumbi did not participate in this gathering. Crisis Group interviews, Congolese political analyst, Brussels, February 2016; civil society representative, Goma, March 2016.Hide Footnote  In June 2016, a meeting of several opposition leaders in Genval, near Brussels, led to creation of the “Rassemblement” under the leadership of Etienne Tshiskedi. The platform brings in Katumbi allies, including the G7, thus forming a potentially potent new alliance.[fn]In full: “Rassemblement des forces politiques et sociales de la RDC Acquises au Changement”. “La ‘déclaration de Genval’ unifie l’opposition congolaise”, L’Echo, 11 June 2016. “RDC: Katumbi dans les valises de Tshisekedi”, Afrikarabia.com, 8 July 2016.Hide Footnote  It does not include Kamerhe, however, the leader of the Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC).

The biggest blow to the opposition has been the Catholic Church’s decision to pursue a less confrontational line. Divided over its political strategy, it had taken a very strong position that the elections be held as scheduled by the constitution in November 2016, but, reportedly after intervention of the Vatican, cancelled a “March of the Christians” protest on 16 February for fear it could turn violent.[fn]Earlier, in December 2015, it recalled its representative from the opposition meeting in Senegal. The Church is also divided over its political strategy. Crisis Group, interviews, diplomats, civil society members and Catholic Church official, Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, March 2016.Hide Footnote  This frustrat­ed opposition politicians, because the Church has strong moral stature, national presence and mobilisation capacity. Katumbi in particular has been identified to a large degree with it, for instance appealing for a daily two-minute prayer at noon in support of the “democratic struggle”. The Church reappeared on the political scene after the June episcopal conference, speaking out against manipulation of the constitution, but it is unclear whether this heralds more activism.[fn]“Le front de l’opposition congolaise ne désarme pas”, La Libre Belgique, 4 February 2016. Crisis Group interview, Congolese Episcopal Conference (CENCO) representative, Kinshasa, July 2016.Hide Footnote

Katumbi took a bold step on 4 May, when he announced his intention to stand for president.[fn]He is backed by the G7 and the Alternation for the Republic (AR), a new alliance of several smaller parties.Hide Footnote  That day, Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe announced he was being investigated for “recruitment of mercenaries”. Facing hearings, growing pressure and intimidation, he was hospitalised on 13 May. On 19 May, the national prosecutor issued an arrest warrant, but Katumbi was later granted highly unusual permission to travel abroad for medical care. Since Katumbi and the G7 left the majority, tensions have increased, particularly in Lubumbashi, capital of the former province. Protests turned violent on 24 April.[fn]“RDC: l’opposant Moïse Katumbi dénonce l’enquête ouverte contre ses ‘mercenaires’”, Le Monde Afrique, 4 May 2016. Crisis Group interview, Congolese analyst, Kinshasa, July 2016. “Opposition en RDC: manifestations à Kinshasa, répression à Lubumbashi”, Jeune Afrique, 25 April 2016.Hide Footnote  There are also more security forces, with armoured vehicles, in and around the city.

These national problems will almost certainly continue to worsen when the presi­dent’s mandate ends in December. They may take several forms: breakdown of already low political trust, explosions of popular anger, state repression and even fractures in the security forces. This report analyses a region, Katanga, that will be a major player in the coming crisis and is representative of the country’s wider troubles. After examining its place in Kabila’s Congo, it looks at perceptions of découpage, political tensions between members of the Katangan elite in the region and Kinshasa, the risk of political violence linked to armed groups in Katanga and the overall impact on national politics. Based on fieldwork in Lubumbashi, Kolwezi and Kinshasa, it is part of a series on the DRC’s broader electoral process.[fn]See also, Crisis Group Africa Report N°225, Congo: Is Democratic Change Possible?, 5 May 2015; and Richard Moncrieff, “The reluctance of Joseph Kabila to cede power could push Congo to the brink”, The Guardian Global Development, 2 May 2016.Hide Footnote

II. Katanga: The Centre of Gravity in Kabila’s Congo

In this podcast, Crisis Group's Richard Moncrieff discusses the links between long-term tensions in the Katanga region and the crisis in DRC linked to the constitutional and electoral deadline at the end of 2016. CRISIS GROUP

Katanga has always been central to Congo’s political dramas. Katangans’ desire for autonomy and sense of exceptionalism are fuelled by the region’s extraordinary mineral wealth, currently the source of well over half the DRC’s fiscal revenue.[fn]For more on Katangan history, see Crisis Group Africa Report N°103, Katanga: The Congo’s Forgotten Crisis, 9 January 2006; and Crawford Young, Politics in the Congo (New Jersey, 1965). The population of the former province was estimated at 9.2 million in 2010, 13 per cent of the national estimate of 69 million. Katanga had 4.7 million of the 32 million registered voters for the 2011 elections (14.6 per cent) and 72 of 500 seats in parliament. It had the most registered voters, and its population was surpassed only by Kinshasa.Hide Footnote  Only weeks after independence in 1960, Moïse Tshombe’s National Confederation of Katanga (CONAKAT), supported by Belgian and U.S. interests, declared secession. The ensuing crisis prompted the first UN deployment of peacekeepers to DRC and was a defining moment in the country’s early turmoil. The UN force and the national army ended the attempt in 1963 and briefly forced Tshombe into exile. Other CONAKAT supporters fled to Angola, where in 1968 they founded the armed National Liberation Front of Congo (FNLC), the “Katangan tigers”, and with support from the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) launched failed invasions of Katanga in 1977 and 1978 (the “Shaba wars”).

Under Mobutu Sese Seko’s rule (1965-1997), the province’s mineral wealth was mismanaged, contributing to the decline of the huge state-run mining company Gécamines (Général des Carrières et des Mines) in the late 1980s.[fn]Gécamines was created in 1967 as successor of the colonial Union Minière du Haut Katanga (UMHK).Hide Footnote  When he was forced to allow some political competition in the early 1990s, Mobutu stirred tensions between Luba immigrants from Kasaï and native Katangans to weaken his strongest opponent, Tshisekedi (who is from Kasai). He also appointed Gabriel Kyungu as Katanga’s governor, who created a new political party, the Union of Federalists and Independent Republicans (UFERI). In 1992, Kyungu blamed Katanga’s economic woes on Luba migrants and adopted an explicit policy of cleansing ethnic Luba from its major mining cities, which led to purges that killed more than 5,000 people. In September 2000, Kyungu formed the Union of Congolese Nationalists and Federalists (UNAFEC).[fn]The Luba are DRC’s largest ethnic group. The name applies to a variety of peoples who speak closely related languages and share culture and political history, derived from the Luba kingdom of the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries. Subdivisions include Luba-Shankaji of Katanga, Luba-Bambo of Kasai and Luba-Hemba of northern Katanga and southern Kivu. Kyungu, a Lubakat from Ankoro in current Tanganyika province and long-time spokesperson for the region’s frustrations, was Katanga provincial assembly speaker from 2007 until its dissolution in 2015. Crisis Group Report, Katanga, op. cit.Hide Footnote

Katanga had a significant role in the 1997-1998 war, in which Laurent Desiré Kabi­la, a Lubakat (Luba from Katanga), overthrew Mobutu. Supported by Angola, many ex-“tigers” joined his Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (AFDL), which developed an important base in Katanga. Many Katangans also joined the central government. However, resentment quickly surfaced, as predominantly northern Katangan politicians staffed the new administration and its security forces, while the province’s south was deprived of the greater share of power and representation it felt entitled to as the main source of mineral wealth.

During the second Congo war (1998-2003), northern Katanga was heavily militarised by the regime, blocking the Rwanda-supported Rally for Congolese Democracy-Goma (RCD-Goma) from capturing Lubumbashi and the strategically important Kamina military base. During that period, Kyungu, Joseph Kabila John Numbi (a key security adviser) were all involved in channelling support to local armed militia groups (Mai-Mai) set-up to fight Rwanda and its proxies. After his father was assassinated in 2001, and as he turned from winning a war to winning elections, Katanga was an important base for Joseph Kabila. He could count on northern and southern elites, including the popular Kyungu and businessman and political newcomer Moïse Katumbi, a key early ally.

A. The Political Networks

Joseph Kabila is a Lubakat from Tanganyika province. From 2007 until the latest reshuffle in September 2015, all his defence ministers were from northern Katanga, as were the interior and justice ministers from 2012 to 2014. Katangans currently hold eight of 37 ministerial posts, including the strategic and lucrative infrastructure, mines and finance ministries.[fn]“Ordonnance N°15/075 du 25 Septembre 2015, portant réaménagement technique du gouvernement”, Présidence de la République, Kinshasa, 25 September 2015. It appointed the following ministers of Katangan origin: Fridolin Kasweshi Musoka (infrastructure); Henri Yav Muland (finance); Martin Kabwelulu (mines); Aimé Ngoy Mukena (hydrocarbons); Félix Kabange Numbi (health); Baudouin Banza Mukalay (culture, died 14 May 2016); Emile Mota Ndongo Khang (agriculture); and Simplice Ilunga Monga (transport, deputy).Hide Footnote  Powerful Katangans have included Guillaume Samba Kaputo and Augustin Katumba Mwanké (both now deceased), John Numbi and, increasingly, Kalev Mutond.[fn]Katumba Mwanké and Samba Maputo between them ran Kabila’s money, political networks and relations with Rwanda: Gauthier de Villers, Histoire du Politique au Congo-Kinshasa (Louvain-la-Neuve, 2016); “La fin mystérieuse du Richelieu congolais”, Le Soir, 7 August 2007; “Katumba Mwanké, key presidential advisor dies”, Congo Siasa (www.congosiasa.blogspot.com), 12 February 2012; and Crisis Group interview, UN official, Kinshasa, June 2015.Hide Footnote

Numbi, another Lubakat and the head of the Congolese police (PNC) from 2007 to 2010, was forced into a background role in 2010, following allegations that he was involved in the killing of respected human rights activist Floribert Chebeya. Previously in the military, he maintains strong links within the army and the Republican Guard (GR), and a return to a more prominent role is possible.[fn]Numbi was provisionally suspended as head of the PNC in June 2010, shortly after Chebeya was found dead after allegedly having been summoned to meet him. The reason for the suspension was to allow calm organisation of the investigation. Numbi appeared as a witness at the trial that was organised from June 2011. In his statement, he denied having met Chebeya the day of his disappearance. Eight policemen were indicted and five convicted. Numbi was replaced as head of the police on 28 December 2013. See “L’affaire Chebeya, un crime d’état?”, film by Thierry Michel, 2012, which includes footage showing Numbi denying allegations of involvement. Following suspension, he remained involved in military matters in the east and relations with Rwanda. He is reportedly linked to the Bakata Katanga armed group. “Affaire Chebeya: l’ombre du général John Numbi plane sur le procès”, Radio France Internationale (RFI), 27 July 2015. According to multiple sources, Numbi also received several Katanga provincial authority contracts when Katumbi was governor. “John Numbi et Joseph Kabila: le désamour après la lune de miel?”, desc-wondo.org, 3 July 2015; Crisis Group interviews, civil society members, Lubumbashi, May 2015.Hide Footnote  Kalev Mutond, a Ruund from Lualaba, is increasingly prominent as director of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR). His role as the president’s personal envoy in the 2015 national consultations advanced his political profile. His agency is deeply involved in repression of civil society groups, raising the possibility that Katangans in the national government will be increasingly involved in repressing political activity at home, further heightening resentments.[fn]Crisis Group interview, Kinshasa-based diplomats, March 2016. Mutond was the agency’s domestic intelligence wing director from 2007-2011. “RDC: Filimbi, la nouvelle génération de citoyens qui ébranle le pouvoir”, GRIP, 17 August 2015.Hide Footnote  Mutond’s brother, Guibert Paul Yav Tshibal, was Katanga’s deputy governor and briefly acting governor in 2015 after Katumbi’s resignation.[fn]During this short period, Tshibal remained in regular contact with Katumbi. Crisis Group email correspondence, Kinshasa-based diplomat, October 2015. Before becoming deputy governor, Tshibal was a leader of the Ruund (Lualaba) cultural association.Hide Footnote

Katangans dominate the security services, in particular the GR, PNC and ANR.[fn]Kabila’s cousin, General Jean-Claude Kifwa, commander of the third military zone, including former Katanga and Philémon Yav, the Katanga military region commander, are very influential.Hide Footnote  This is also the case for other important state functions, such as the national prosecutor, Flory Kabange Numbi (Lubakat), and the Central Bank governor, Déogracias Mutombo Mwana Nyembo (Luba-Hemba). Kabila’s longstanding cabinet director, Gustave Beya Siku, was replaced in a reshuffle in May 2015 but subsequently appointed ambassador to Angola.[fn]“RDC: un cabinet présidentiel renouvelé pour le président Joseph Kabila”, RFI, 28 May 2015; “Gustave Beya Siku handling oil relations again”, Africa Energy Intelligence, no. 754, 29 September 2015.Hide Footnote  Katangans remain prominent in the presidential cabinet, including Théodore Mugalu, the influential chief of staff at the presidency. Two other prominent actors are Kabila’s twin sister Jaynet and younger brother Zoë. In 2011, both were elected legislators in what is now Tanganyika province, Jaynet as an independent in Kalemie and Zoë on a PPRD ticket in Manono.[fn]“RD Congo: Les gardiens du temple”, Jeune Afrique, 1 February 2015. Mugalu was ambassador to Tanzania and a PPRD MP. “Honorables Kabila, députés à l’Assemblée nationale congolaise”, Jeune Afrique, 14 February 2012.Hide Footnote  Jaynet is also president of the influential “Fondation Laurent Désiré Kabilaand has extensive business interests.[fn]She co-owns the Digital Congo media group and reportedly owns 50 per cent of Keratsu Holding Ltd., a stakeholder with 19.6 per cent of Congo Wireless Network Sprl., which in turn owns 49 per cent of Vodacom Congo. “Congo President’s Twin Has Indirect Stake in Vodacom Unit”, Bloomberg.com, 5 April 2016.Hide Footnote

Though many Katangans hold senior public office, some of the elite are increasingly frustrated with Kabila, blaming him as well as former Governor Katumbi for lack of development in Lubakat-dominated Tanganyika and Haut-Lomami provinces (formerly districts). In previous elections, Kabila obtained massive support from these areas and rewarded elites with key political and administration posts, including in the security services. However, he left out some prominent leaders, such as Jean-Claude Masangu (who aspired to be prime minister). Elites are also aggrieved that he is reaching out to other constituencies to broaden his base, which may threaten the region’s power. Kabila is reportedly aloof in dealing with Katangan elites, which is taken badly in his home province. Paradoxically, while most of the country sees power as concentrated in Katangan hands, Katangan elites, those close to Kabila and those now opposing him, are worried it is slipping from their grasp, especially since the 2011 election and the death of Katumba Mwanké.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, Katangan elites, Lubumbashi, May-June 2015, March 2016; Katangan political analyst, Lubumbashi, June 2015.Hide Footnote

B. Economic Troubles

Copper and cobalt production in Haut-Katanga are the bedrock of DRC’s formal economy. In 2014, Katanga accounted for 71 per cent of revenue generated by the extractive sector, which is responsible for 95 per cent of total exports and a very large portion of central government revenues.[fn]“Rapport Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), RDC 2014”, December 2015. Copper alone is 30 per cent of export receipts. “Democratic Republic of Congo; country mining guide”, KPMG Global Mining Institute, 2014. For a comprehensive analysis of Katanga’s economy, see Donation Dibwe Dia Mwembu, Delphin Kaimbi Mpyana and Didier Kilondo Nguya, “Le Katanga: entre croissance économique portée par le secteur minier et un développement en demi-teinte”, Observatoire des Grands Lacs en Afrique, July 2014.Hide Footnote  Copper production grew from 30,000 tons in 2006 to a record one million tons in 2014.[fn]“Statistiques Minières de 2003 à 2012”, Ministère des Mines, DRC, September 2013; “Mining industry annual report 2014”, The Chamber of Business of the DRC (FEC), 2014; “DRC now Africa’s biggest copper producer”, African Business Magazine, 30 May 2014. Copper production, 470,000 tons in 1988, dropped precipitously in the mid-1990s but recovered in the mid-2000s. At these levels, known reserves would last twenty to 30 years. Stefaan Marysse, Claudine Tshimanga, “La Renaissance spectaculaire du secteur minier en RDC, Où va la rente minière?”, in Marysse, Jean Omasombo (eds.), Conjonctures Congolaises 2012 (Tervuren, 2013), p. 40.Hide Footnote  Katanga, which exported 68,069 tons in 2014, also accounts for approximately 55 per cent of the world’s cobalt production.[fn]It has 45 per cent of known reserves. “Mining industry annual report 2014”, op. cit., p. 8.Hide Footnote

However, the drop in commodity prices has affected this spectacular growth. In mid-2015, Glencore’s Kamoto Copper Company (KCC), producing 15 per cent of the country’s copper, suspended operations, causing a $200 million government revenue loss (approximately 4.7 per cent of total revenue).[fn]Total revenue, including grants, was $4.2 billion in 2015.Hide Footnote  In May 2016, the Congolese Chamber of Mines projected a drop in the year’s copper production of 5.9 per cent. Cobalt production is projected to fall by 21.3 per cent, and production of all other minerals is also expected to decline. This seriously affects foreign currency reserves and is puting pressure on the Congolese Franc in a politically tense period.[fn]“DRC Mining Industry, First Quarter 2016”, Federation of Congolese Enterprises (FEC), May 2016, p. 4. Crisis Group interviews, diplomats and civil society, Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, March 2016; Kinshasa, July 2016; “Cost of Glencore unit’s suspension will complicate Congo’s elections”, Reuters, 26 October 2015; “Allocution de son Excellence Monsieur le Premier Ministre à l’occasion de la présentation du projet de loi de finances pour l’exercice 2016 devant l’Assemblée Nationale”, Primature, October 2015. Reflecting the drop in revenue, Prime Minister Matata Ponyo announced on 16 May a 22 per cent budget cut for 2016. The government also reached out to the World Bank and IMF for support. Crisis Group interview, Kinshasa-based diplomat, Kinshasa, March 2016.Hide Footnote  Aside from lower demand, unreliable energy supply and the challenging business climate have further stunted growth.[fn]Crisis Group interview, Lubumbashi-based civil society representative, May 2015; “Interview with Michael Kavanagh on the Congolese economy”, Congo Siasa podcast, 15 May 2015; “Wing and a prayer economics”, Africa Confidential, 23 October 2015; “Congo-K Miners no longer want to deal with SNEL”, Africa Energy Intelligence, 28 July 2015.Hide Footnote

The parastatal Gécamines is central to the Katangan economy. In 1988, it was responsible for 42.9 per cent of government revenue, but Mobutu’s kleptocracy bankrupted it in the mid-1990’s. Restructured, it now has only limited production, partly due to prohibitive costs, but is a minority partner in joint ventures such as the copper and cobalt mine Tenke Fungurumé (TFM). This huge mining investment is reportedly on the brink of being sold to Chinese investors, a sign of China’s ongoing interest in Congo’s minerals, despite the global economic slowdown, which is likely to have geopolitical ramifications.[fn]Marysse, Omasombo, op. cit., pp. 23-29. TFM holds some of the world’s biggest reserves. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. is the operating partner, holding a 56 per cent interest. Gécamines holds a 20 per cent carried interest (taking a share of profit not proportional to investment level). In June 2016, Freeport outlined plans to sell its share in TFM. “Lundin gets bid extension on Freeport Congo mine stake”, Reuters, 19 July 2016.Hide Footnote

The Africa Progress Panel and Global Witness reported under-valued, secretive Gécamines sales of mining assets to foreign investors around the 2011 election. The former estimated the government should have earned $1.36 billion more from five deals between 2010 and 2015. Global Witness and other sources allege such secretive deals have continued since 2014, including with Chinese investors. Proceeds allegedly function as a parallel source of central government funding, bypassing the scrutiny of parliament and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The government has denied allegations of underselling, insisting that it has published all relevant material, and vigorously defending the deals.[fn]“Equity in Extractives”, Africa Progress Report 2013, Africa Progress Panel, pp. 55-58; “Out of Africa, British offshore secrecy and Congo’s missing $1.5 billion”, Global Witness, May 2016. Crisis Group telephone interview, businessperson, November 2015; interview, diplomat, March 2016. Stefaan Marysse, Claudine Tshimanga, op. cit., pp. 25-29; Mining Minister Martin Kabewelulu stated that “assets were ceded in total transparency”; see “Congo loses out on $1.4 bln as mine assets sold cheap – Annan panel”, Reuters, 10 May 2013. Other parties implicated also fervently deny any wrongdoing.Hide Footnote

Of particular concern has been the $6.2 billion Sicomines deal. Up to mid-2015, the contract funded an estimated $800 million in nationwide infrastructure projects. Another part of the deal is the development of a 240MW hydropower station in Busanga, north of Kolwezi.[fn]La société anonyme Sino-Congolaise des Mines (Sicomines) is a joint venture, set up in 2007, between Gécamines (32 per cent) and three Chinese companies (68 per cent). Gécamines owns the sites. See Johanna Jansson, “The Sicomines agreement revisited: prudent Chinese banks and risk-taking companies”, Review of African Political Economy, vol. 40, no. 135, pp. 152-162, 2013; “Sicomines project to start producing copper before end-2015”, The Economist Intelligence Unit, 22 May 2015; “China’s ‘infrastructure for minerals’ deal gets reality check in Congo”, Reuters, 9 July 2015. “Congo, China partners near deal for $600 million power plant”, Bloomberg, 15 October 2015; “Power shortages threaten launch of Chinese-run copper mine”, Reuters, 28 August 2015.Hide Footnote  Sicomines finally started copper production in November 2015 and in this short period has become the country’s third largest producer. Under the deal, investors are protected from falling copper values, and production is tax exempt.[fn]“DRC Mining Industry, First Quarter 2016”, op. cit., p. 4. This production appears in the statistics but does not represent new revenue for the government. Crisis Group interviews, diplomats and analysts, Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, March 2016. More broadly, Chinese companies own 80 per cent of Katanga’s mineral processing plants, and China buys 90 per cent of its minerals. “Country Report: DRC, 3rd Quarter 2013”, Economist Intelligence Unit, 1 September 2013, p. 14.Hide Footnote  Lack of transparency in allocation and spending of the money adds to the concern, including in Katanga, about the central government’s use of mining sector revenue.[fn]“Congo-K: les mines au cœur des réseaux ethniques”, Africa Mining Intelligence, 26 July 2013; “Ivanhoe rides into the elections”, Africa Confidential, 10 July 2015; “Défis de transparence, de la qualité et du respect des droits humains dans la réalisation des infrastructures du projet Sicomines à Kinshasa”, African Association for the Defence of Human Rights (ASADHO), November 2014. There is no evidence that Sicomines itself was complicit in the misuse of funds that went to public authorities. Gécamines management was not available for comment either on the Sicomines deal or on the alleged under-selling of assets when approached by Crisis Group in Lubumbashi in May 2015.Hide Footnote

As the province’s economy grew after the civil war, its budget exploded, from $21 million in 2006 to $973 million in 2014 and a projected $1 billion-plus for 2015.[fn]“Le projet de budget de la province du Katanga pour 2015 déclaré recevable à l’Assemblée provinciale”, Agence Congolaise de Presse (ACP), 18 December 2014; “Katanga de tous les superlatifs”, Publi-Information, Jeune Afrique, 28 June 2015.Hide Footnote  This is double the budget of Kinshasa, and almost five times that of Congo-Central (the former Bas-Congo), the second wealthiest province. Provinces currently have two sources of funding: provincial taxes and a 40 per cent share of national taxes raised in their territory, which the central government should return to them. The latter should be the largest revenue source; however, the central government has only partially kept its obligation. Nationally, it returned only approximately 14 per cent to provinces in 2014.[fn]“Avec la rétrocession, le Katanga serait plus développé, affirme son ministre des Finances”, Radio Okapi, 15 January 2015. Accurate national and provincial tax revenue figures are difficult to obtain. Katanga’s was estimated at $300 million in 2013. Pierre Englebert and Emmanuel Kasongo Mungongo, “Misguided and Misdiagnosed: the Failure of Decentralisation Reforms in the DR Congo”, African Studies Review, vol. 59, no. 1 (2016), p. 30.Hide Footnote  The failure to return a perceived fair share underlies current tensions. However, with the deepening economic crisis, Kabila has few options, so uses state resources, largely generated in Katanga, to sustain central government patronage.

Despite its riches, large infrastructural and developmental inequality persists in Katanga. The major mining areas in Haut-Katanga and Lualaba (in particular Kolwezi) have relatively good infrastructure, while the northern provinces, in particular isolated Haut-Lomami, are among DRC’s poorest. The poverty rate is above the national average.[fn]In Lualaba, there are also huge disparities between Kolwezi, its main mining district, and other areas. “Rapport des vacances parlementaires du district du Lualaba”, Lubumbashi, 28 May 2014. Crisis Group interviews, local politicians, humanitarians and diplomats, February-July 2015. According to a 2010 study on the découpage, Katanga had the highest tax revenue but Tanganyika and Haut-Lomami would be the least prosperous new provinces. “DRC: The Impact of the ‘Découpage’”, joint study, the European Commission, Belgian Development Cooperation and UN Development Programme (UNDP), March 2010. “Resilience of an African giant”, World Bank, 2012, p. 30; “Plan Quinquennal de développement 2011-2015”, Province du Katanga (undated). According to the latter report (p. 29), the percentage of poor in Katanga is 87.8, against a national average of 71.3 per cent.Hide Footnote  Local elites often use central government failure to transfer revenue to justify lack of investment in northern Katangan development.

Even in the mining belt, large investments and growth have not translated into significant formal employment. Most Katangan miners are artisanal, selling their production to trading posts (comptoirs) in Lubumbashi, Likasi and Kolwezi, mainly owned by Chinese businesses.[fn]Gregory Mtembu-Salter, “Goodwill and Hard Bargains: the DRC, China and India”, South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), March 2012.Hide Footnote  Many live in dire circumstances and are potential recruits for political thuggery, or even insurgency, and involvement in clashes between local and migrant labour.[fn]They often live in a squalor outside urban centres that contrasts with the continuous stream of trucks carrying valuable minerals. There is also concern about the mining industry’s environmental and health impact. Crisis Group interviews, local officials and civil society representatives, Lubumbashi, Kolwezi, May-June 2015. See also “L’Enfer des mines en RDC”, Amnesty International Switzerland, March 2012; and “Artisanal mining in the middle of a city: The Kasulo story in the DRC”, Southern African Resource Watch, 21 October 2015.Hide Footnote  Tensions are likely to rise as the slump in industrial production drives laid-off workers to dig illegally on company-owned concessions. According to the Chamber of Mines, the drop in mineral production has already cost at least 13.000 jobs nationwide.[fn]Often with the collusion of soldiers and policemen. Crisis Group email correspondence, Lubumbashi-based civil society representative, Nairobi, October 2015. “DRC Mining Industry, First Quarter 2016”, op. cit., p. 13.Hide Footnote

This can take on ethnic overtones. The mining economy has for decades drawn in large numbers of migrant labourers, especially from Kasai province. Different communities, migrant and local, have fought for control of land, jobs and political office. Découpage has created new provincial structures that could further inflame these underlying tensions and disrupt investment plans, as examined below.[fn]Crisis Group interview, FEC representative, Lubumbashi, March 2016; “Kolwezi: la suspension des activités de Glencore préjudiciera l’économie”, Radio Okapi, 11 September 2015; “Le Katanga se serre la ceinture … de cuivre”, Jeune Afrique, 20 September 2015.Hide Footnote

Overall, Katanga owes its particular place in Congolese politics to two factors: the Katangan origin of the president and his predecessor and its economic weight. Together these have created distinct political expectations. While many Katangan elites are happy to see one of their own in power in Kinshasa (and would like it to stay that way), they are aggrieved at the perceived failure to return to the region a fair share of the wealth it generates. In addition, within the former province, poorer areas feel disenfranchised by both the central and provincial governments.

III. The Politics of Découpage: The End of “Katanga”

A. Découpage: From Delay to Control

The DRC’s territorial organisation and the relationship between the centre and the decentralised entities has been a major political issue since the early days of independence. The 2006 constitution mandated division of the then eleven provinces into 26 in the découpage process. The intention, which remains popular in many parts of the country, was to bring government structures closer to the people. Part of this deal was to reinforce provinces’ financial autonomy.[fn]Gauthier de Villers, Histoire du politique au Congo-Kinshasa, Les concepts à l’épreuve (Louvain-la-Neuve, 2016); Crisis Group Report, Congo, op. cit.; Jean-Claude Bruneau, “Les nouvelles provinces de la République Démocratique du Congo: construction territorial et ethnicités”, L’Espace Politique, no. 1, 2009. On decentralisation’s financial aspects, see Evariste Mabi Mulumba and Clément Muya, “Décentralisation, gestion des finances publiques et problématique de la fiscalité”, in Jean Omasombo and Paule Bouvier (eds.), Décentralisation et Espaces de Pouvoir (Tervuren, 2014); and “DRC: The Impact”, op. cit. The provinces are expected to financially support local government structures (decentralised territorial entities, ETDs).Hide Footnote  As noted, the constitution permits provinces to levy taxes, and its Article 175 provides, in a process called “retrocession”, that they should receive 40 per cent of locally raised national revenues. It also envisages a “national equalisation fund”, to distribute 10 per cent of national tax revenues to provinces with weak local tax collection.[fn]Congo-Central, Haut-Katanga, Kinshasa and Lualaba provinces are the only provinces that would not receive equalisation fund transfers. Crisis Group interview, government official, Kinshasa, June 2015.Hide Footnote

The reality has not matched the constitutional aspirations. Decentralisation remains more theoretical than real. The national assembly only adopted the equalisation fund bill in November 2015, and the president still has to promulgate it. Retrocession has “hovered between 6 and 10 per cent from 2007 to 2013”,[fn]Pierre Englebert and Emmanuel Kasongo Mungongo, op. cit., p. 12.Hide Footnote  not anywhere near the 40 per cent level. This has been excused by reference to low absorption capacity and concerns about transparency and corruption at provincial level, which while partly justified are also partly due to central government unwillingness to invest in provincial capacity. Additionally, the government has not transferred civil servants and policy control to the provinces. The failure to fully implement retrocession has generated much bitterness, not least in Katanga which is well aware of the amount of resources it generates for the centre.[fn]“Discours de clôture de la Session Ordinaire de Septembre 2015 par l’Honorable Aubin Minaku Ndjalandjoko, Président de l’Assemblée nationale”, Kinshasa, 15 December 2015. Englebert and Mungongo, “Misguided and Misdiagnosed” op. cit., p. 10. Crisis Group interviews, provincial administrators and politicians, Lubumbashi, May, June 2015. Between 2010 and 2014, Katanga reportedly received $44 million of an expected $155 million. “Suivi et évaluation de l’exécution des obligations légales par l’état en RDC: Cas de la rétrocession des recettes minières à la province du Katanga et à ses entités territoriales décentralisées”, Action Against Impunity for Human Rights (ACIDH), Lubumbashi, April 2015.Hide Footnote

During Kabila’s first elected term (2006-2011), the government made incremental progress adopting laws needed to implement découpage and decentralisation. However, it rolled back provincial political autonomy in the 2011 constitutional reform. Decentralisation and découpage reappeared more prominently with adoption of the “Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement” (PSCF), in February 2013 and during the national consultations organised in September-October that year.[fn]Revision of Articles 197 and 198 allows the central government to intervene directly in the provinces’ political functioning, including to dissolve an assembly and dismiss a governor. The PSCF is an agreement by DRC and its neighbours to implement better national and regional policies, stimulated by the crisis over the Rwandan backed M23 insurgency. Crisis Group commentary, “Lubumbashi Takeover: Governance by Substitution”, 15 April 2013.Hide Footnote  Following a significant reshuffle in December 2014, the government pushed through legislation needed to implement découpage, which became a legal reality in July 2015.[fn]“Discours sur l’état de la nation”, Cabinet du Président de la République, 15 December 2015. Laws 015/004 (28 February 2015) and 015/006 (25 March 2015) fixed the 26 provinces’ borders.Hide Footnote  Six provinces were broken up (Bandundu, Equateur, Kasai-Occidental, Kasai-Oriental, Katanga and Orientale), one renamed (Bas Congo, now Congo-Cen­tral) and four left untouched, producing a total of 26. Katanga was split into Haut-Katanga, Haut-Lomami, Lualaba and Tanganyika provinces. Some new provinces had previously been territorial entities of the colonial state; others were former districts created after independence.

There are widespread concerns about implementation, particularly the lack of financial and material resources for both the transfer of responsibilities and the financial viability of the new provinces, as well as the short timeframe to deal with the issues ahead of the elections and the overall financial viability of many of the entities. There are also border issues and disputed areas, which could catalyse conflict, in particular if long delayed local and provincial elections are finally organised.[fn]“La tribune de Muzito: la RDC, un Etat sans budget”, Le Phare, 6 April 2015. For an overview, see “DRC: The Impact”, op. cit.Hide Footnote

Following the July 2015 change, existing executive authorities (governors and their ministers) initially remained to manage affairs, though with severely weakened authority and unclear legal status, which led to near paralysis in some provincial administrations.[fn]Crisis Group analyst interviews in a former capacity, governor, provincial assembly members and electoral commission staff, Kisangani, October 2015.Hide Footnote  Some provincial assemblies tried to flex muscles; several attempted to seize control of revenue generated in the new provinces, but the national government pushed back.[fn]Crisis Group email correspondence, Kinshasa-based official, August 2015; “RDC: les bureaux provisoires des assemblées provinciales installés dans l’ex-Katanga”, Radio Okapi, 30 July 2015; “Evariste Boshab met en garde contre tout blocage au découpage territorial”, Forum des As, 26 August 2015.Hide Footnote  On 29 September 2015, the interior minister suspended all plenary meetings of the new provincial assemblies created by découpage, leaving the administrations in legal limbo.[fn]“Elections en RDC: les retards s’accumulent”, RFI, 26 August 2015; “Les parlements provinciaux suspendus par Kinshasa”, La Libre Belgique, 3 October 2015. Provincial deputies were elected in 2006. In preparation for the découpage to happen during their first mandate, the future provinces were already used as electoral districts.Hide Footnote

Delays in electing the new governors in the second half of 2015 led the central government to ask the Constitutional Court in September for permission to appoint special commissioners to administer the new provinces, in effect suspending the authority of the governors and assemblies.[fn]“Elections en RDC: les retards s’accumulent”, RFI, 26 August 2015. Crisis Group interview, parliamentary official, Lubumbashi, March 2016; “La Cour Constitutionnelle tranche”, L’Avenir, 9 September 2015; “L’arrêt de la Cour Constitutionnelle en exclusivité et en intégralité”, Le Soft, 14 September 2015; Marcel Wetch’okonda, “Quelques commentaires sur l’arrêt de la Cour Constitutionnelle sur les élections des gouverneurs et vice-gouverneurs”, Congo Siasa, 19 September 2015.Hide Footnote  The president appointed the new commissioners and their deputies on 29 October – all his political allies.[fn]“RDC: Joseph Kabila nomme les commissaires spéciaux de nouvelles provinces démembrées”, Radio Okapi, 29 October 2015. In Katanga, the commissioners were Félicien Katanga Lokunda (Haut-Katanga); Raymond Mande Mutombo (Haut-Lomami); Richard Muyej (Lualaba); and Richard Ngoyi Kitangalaa (Tanganyika).Hide Footnote

Critics suspected that the government always intended this, using a compliant CENI and Constitutional Court to impose commissioners, partly in order to establish initial control over the process and exert greater influence over the deputies responsible for electing the governors. It reportedly also tasked the ANR to follow the dynam­ics in the provincial assemblies. An opposition coalition unsuccessfully challenged the special commissioners’ nomination at the constitutional court, arguing their function had no basis in law and calling on the public to disobey them.[fn]Crisis Group email correspondence, Kinshasa-based official and diplomats, July 2015; Kyungu Wa Kumwanza, head of the Katangan provincial assembly, denounced this: “Kyungu Wa Kumwanza furieux dénonce les intimidations de l’ANR sur les députés”, YouTube, 23 July 2015. Dynamique de l’Opposition Congolaise, Déclaration, 1 November 2015.

The announcement in February 2016 that gubernatorial elections for the 21 new provinces would be held on 26 March came as a surprise.[fn]Crisis Group interview, Kinshasa-based official, March 2016.Hide Footnote  These are indirect, by the existing provincial assembly members elected in 2006. 97 individuals registered as candidates, but 21 were barred for a variety of legal reasons, including many who posed the greatest threat to the majority.[fn]CENI and later the courts accepted the majority’s request to revoke the candidacy of several of its members who had registered as independents, as well as those of several opposition candidates. The request is in a 23 February letter by Aubin Minaku, the majority’s secretary general, to the CENI, on file with Crisis Group. Crisis Group interviews, UN official and diplomats, Lubumbashi, March 2016. For the initial list of candidates, see Annexe à la decision N°006/CENI/BUR/16 du 28/02/2016, 28 February 2016; and for the final list, Communiqué de presse N°008/CENI-RDC/16, 11 March 2016.Hide Footnote  In former Katanga, candidates for the ruling majority, Richard Muyej and Richard Ngoy Kitangala, had only recently been appointed commissioners. The only major candidate linked to the opposition allowed to stand in Katanga was Christian Mwando Nsimba in Tanganyika.[fn]A member of the G7 and very close to Moïse Katumbi.Hide Footnote  Still, the majority remained nervous, and Aubin Minaku, its secretary general, was sent to Lubumbashi two weeks before the vote, to drum up provincial deputies’ support for pro-government candidates. The majority won all four governorships in Katanga.[fn]Crisis Group interview, political leader G7, Lubumbashi, March 2016; “Retour à Kinshasa du Président de l’Assemblé nationale M. Aubin Minaku Djala Djoku”, ACP, 13 March 2016. The new governors are Jean Claude Kazembe in Haut-Katanga (22 of 30 provincial deputy votes), Richard Muyej in Lualaba (22 of 24), Richard Ngoy Kitangala in Tanganyika (sixteen of 24) and Célestin Mbuyu in Haut-Lomami (seventeen of 24).Hide Footnote

In total, the majority succeeded in getting fifteen of its 21 candidates elected in the new provinces. In the former Orientale and Equateur provinces, several independent (often disguised opposition) candidates were elected. One of these, José Makila, Sud-Ubangui governor and Labour Alliance for Development (ATD) party leader, then co-founded the AR coalition supporting Moïse Katumbi in May 2016. Overall the majority achieved its goal but was widely criticised for manipulation. A Catholic Church report was particularly critical of the CENI.[fn]The ATD is an offshoot from the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC). “Election des gouverneurs et vice-gouverneurs: La CENCO dénonce la violation de la liberté et du secret de vote”, La Tempête des Tropiques, 29 April 2016.Hide Footnote

B. Katanga: A Particular Case

In a brief provincial assembly session on 16 July 2015, Katanga province officially ended, though its administration remained to manage affairs until appointment of the special commissioners. Just before the break-up, the central government re-organised several state and parastatal structures, including the security forces, to reflect the new territorial organisation. Other parts of the administration, such as taxation, remain unchanged.[fn]“Ce que Kyungu et Katumbi ont dit le dernier jour du Katanga”, YouTube, 16 July 2015, www.
youtube.com/watch?v=UPt775jOAfE&feature=youtu.be. On 14 July 2015, the president signed decrees adapting the national police and immigration command structures to reflect the new provinces. Crisis Group interview, FEC representative, Lubumbashi, March 2016.Hide Footnote

1. The debate

While the principle of bringing government closer to the people, popular across the country, also has support in Katanga, several of its politicians, mostly in the (new) opposition, and citizens alike have been particularly critical of découpage and fearful of its outcome. The former province has a strong sense of identity derived from its wealth, history (including brief independence) and powerful, ethnic-based “cultural associations” that permeate its political, cultural and economic life.[fn]“Arguments pour le découpage, Honorable Kansabala”, Le Rassembleur Magazine, no. 12 (undated), Lubumbashi. Erik Gobbers, “Ethnic associations in Katanga province, the Democratic Republic of Congo: multi-tier system, shifting identities and the relativity of autochthony”, The Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 54, no. 2 (2016), pp. 211-236.Hide Footnote  Many worry découpage is intended to break its demographic, economic and political weight and weaken Katangan identity.[fn]This was the opinion of traditional chiefs who met in Lubumbashi, 2-16 December 2006. “Le découpage territorial … oui mais …”, and “Arguments contre le découpage, Monseigneur Fulgence Muteba”, Le Rassembleur Magazine, no. 12, (undated), Lubumbashi. 150,000, including several “notables”, signed a petition to parliament opposing découpage.Hide Footnote  Several prominent people, including then Governor Katumbi and Provincial Assembly Speaker Kyungu, spoke against découpage, threatened to organise petitions to reunify the province and argued for keeping “Katanga” in the names of the new provinces.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, UNAFEC politicians, Lubumbashi May-June 2015; Moïse Katumbi, Brussels, October 2015; “Katanga: Gabriel Kyungu lance une pétition contre le découpage territorial”, Radio Okapi, 12 January 2015; “Présidentielle en RDC, redécoupage: entretien exclusif avec Moïse Katumbi”, RFI, 16 March 2015. In a highly symbolic act, two weeks before the province’s division, the two leaders inaugurated a monument symbolising Katangan identity. “Identité katangaise ou nostalgie du Katanga finissant”, Tout Lubumbashi, 6 July 2015. This echoed earlier acts, such as when Katumbi erected a statue of secessionist leader Moïse Tshombé in Lubumbashi’s main square, also renamed in his honour. “Inauguration à Lubumbashi d’une fontaine à la place Moïse Tshombe”, ACP, 6 June 2010. “Interview with Moïse Katumbi”, Le Rassembleur Magazine, no. 12, (undated), Lubumbashi, pp. 38-39.Hide Footnote

Critics suggested découpage was designed to provoke secessionist sentiment, possibly to provide a pretext for crackdowns or further electoral delays; that it was part of the government’s glissement strategy; and that it was designed to cut the ground under Katumbi’s feet as he emerged as a serious challenger to Kabila. Several noted it considerably increased executive positions, thus scope for patronage, which the central government is determined to control.[fn]For the perceptions of découpage, Crisis Group interviews, Congolese politician, Brussels, October 2015; Katangan elite and Lubumbashi based-analyst, Lubumbashi, May-June 2015; former community leader, Lubumbashi, March 2016. See also the September 2015 G7 letter and Katumbi’s declaration.Hide Footnote  Despite the criticism and fear, the process was implemented without major problems.

2. Kolwezi and Lualaba province

There is considerable support for the current process among elites in the poorer of the new Katangan provinces: Tanganyika, Haut-Lomami and Lualaba, where découpage is seen as important for development. Despite having voted massively for Kabila in 2011, these areas have long been neglected by the central government.[fn]Critics point to the contrast between the extensive farms and imposing villa owned by the president just outside Lubumbashi and the dilapidated state of his home region of Manono, in north Katanga, which was devastated during the 1998-2003 war. Crisis Group interviews Lubumbashi, June-May 2015 and March 2016. An often-heard criticism is “we have been forgotten”. Crisis Group interviews, Katangan elite, Lubumbashi, May-June 2015 and Lubumbashi residents, March 2016. See also Kris Berwouts, “Bateau sans boussole. Le régime Kabila en perte de cohésion”, Observatoire des Grands Lacs en Afrique, November 2014.Hide Footnote  Especially in Lualaba, which now includes the mineral-rich former Kolwezi district, and Tanganyika provinces, many see découpage as an opportunity to assert rights and regain control of “their resources”. In Tanganyika, the civil society platform SOCITANG pushed provincial legislators in 2012 to have their then district become a découpage pilot project, pointing to the supposed gains made by previously created new Congolese provinces.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, civil society representatives, academics, and diplomat, Lubumbashi and Kolwezi, May-June 2015. Société Civile du Tanganika (SOCITANG), memorandum, 17 November 2012; Crisis Group interviews, political party and civil society representatives, Lubumbashi, May-June 2015.Hide Footnote

Kolwezi, the country’s richest mining area, is one of only five districts (of 26 before the 2006 constitution) not to have become a province. As a major mining centre, its place in the new order is very sensitive. Locally, there is tension between those of Katangan origin and immigrant populations (particularly from Kasaï), and between the “indigenous” Sanga and groups from the former Lualaba district, the “Tshota” or “G5” (regrouping the Tshokwe, Rund, Minungu, Ndembo and Luvale communities). A major Sanga frustration is that members of these other communities hold most of the important provincial positions and have better employment opportunities in mining companies.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, Lubumbashi, Kolwezi, May-June 2015; Lubumbashi-based analyst, October 2015; “La population de Kolwezi appelée à la paix et à la tolérance”, ACP, 4 June 2013.Hide Footnote

In 2009, the Kolwezi-based Lwanzo Lwa Mikuba cultural association, representing the Sanga, submitted a petition to parliament with 100,000 signatures, requesting a constitutional amendment allowing the district to become a province.[fn]This repeated a call in October 2013: “Kolwezi réclame son statut de province”, La Croisette, 29 October 2013.Hide Footnote  On 8 December 2014, the association organised a protest in Kolwezi in which one person was reportedly killed. A last attempt in parliament, during the discussions on the January 2015 law fixing the future provinces’ borders, also failed. As a second option, instead of being integrated in Lualaba, Lwanzo would have preferred to integrate Kolwezi in Haut-Katanga. This reflects the close ties between this community and the Bemba, which together form the “Espace Sempya-Lwanzo”.[fn]“Treated like criminals, DRC’s race to silence dissent in the run up to elections”, Amnesty International, 2015, p. 15. “Des députés du Katanga désapprouvent le rattachement de Kolwezi à la province de Lualaba”, Radio Okapi, 13 January 2015. Erik Gobbers, op. cit., pp. 229-230.Hide Footnote

The central government has clamped down on these calls for a new province and other elements of dissent. It arrested the Lwanzo leader and former legislator Vano Kalembe Kiboko in Kinshasa in December 2014 and sentenced him to three years in prison for inciting racial hatred and tribalism, after he railed against the Kolwezi’s planned incorporation in Lualaba province at a Lubumbashi press conference.[fn]Kiboko also clearly opposed any change in the constitution allowing a third presidential term. Copy of speech on file with Crisis Group. Crisis Group interview, Congolese opposition legislator, Kinshasa, June 2015; “Kinshasa: l’ex député Vano Kiboko condamné à 3 ans de prison”, Radio Okapi, 16 September 2015. Kiboko was released from prison on 5 May 2016.Hide Footnote

During April-May 2015, several meetings to prepare for creation of the new Lualaba province were organised, including one initiated by the ex-interior minister, later special commissioner and Lualaba governor, Richard Muyej. At a May 2015 forum in Kolwezi community, representatives tried to reach a consensus on maintaining stability in the new province, including by carefully balancing community interests in its government.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, academics and participants in “Forum sur le développement de la Province de Lualaba”, University of Kolwezi, June 2015, www.unikol.ac.cd/?p=454.Hide Footnote

According to several members of the new province’s elite, the priority should be development of infrastructure linking the mining areas in and around Kolwezi more directly to export routes, thus avoiding Lubumbashi. A particular need is to refurbish railways linked to the recently rehabilitated Benguela corridor in Angola.[fn]The “Lobito Corridor” project is included in the “Investments opportunities brief (IOB) Consultative Process: Key findings and recommendations”, ICGLR, Office of the UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, 2015, p. 32. The Congolese side of the railroad is not operational. The recently rehabilitated Angolan section is partially operational. Zambia has started work to connect to the Lobito corridor. Crisis Group interview, businessperson, Brussels, September 2015.Hide Footnote  A second would be to repair the Kolwezi to Solwezi, Zambia road. Plans have come up against regional rivalries within the former province, however, with business elites in Kolwesi and Lubumbashi backing rival road corridors. Simmering disputes over transport links, vitally important given the money to be made from mineral transport, reflect the high stakes involved in delimiting new provinces and hurt the business climate, adding further insecurities to the economic challenges.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, civil society representatives Kolwezi, June 2015; former Governor Katumbi, Accra, November 2015; businessperson, Brussels, September 2015 and FEC official, Lubumbashi, March 2016. For an overview of the first Kolwezi-Solwezi road initiatives, see Jeroen Cuvelier, “The impact of the global financial crisis on mining in Katanga”, op. cit., pp. 17-19; and “Une question d’hégémonie: Du contentieux au sujet de la route Kolwezi-Solwezi”, Fragment 1, September 2009.Hide Footnote

IV. The Region’s Rising Tensions

A. Frustration

There is a growing political dimension to the economic frustrations felt by Katangan elites and population that feeds into tensions with the centre. It is based on the strong belief among elites that, despite their many internal divisions, national power should remain in their hands following November’s electoral deadline. Local elites, especially Lubakat, grumble about receiving too little attention.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, Katangan elites, Lubumbashi, May-June 2015. See also “Memo à l’attention des Notables Luba du Katanga”, Lubumbashi, 25 January 2014.Hide Footnote  They say control in Kinshasa would quell or harness dormant but real Katangan separatism.[fn]Crisis Group interview, political leader, Lubumbashi, May 2015.Hide Footnote  With Kabila’s term ending and his popular support declining, fewer of the region’s elites believe that sticking with him and the majority as currently configured will allow them to keep power – though this has not yet reached a point of no return. In past months, the majority has invested considerable attention on the four new provinces.[fn]In the run-up to celebrations of national independence day in Kindu (Maniema) in 2016, Kabila spent several weeks in the ex-province, attending the conference of provincial governors in Lubumbashi and inaugurating several infrastructure projects in his home province, Tanganyika.Hide Footnote  Meanwhile, other provinces want to rebalance politics by transferring power to another region – the east-west cleavage is particularly potent – reflecting the principle of “la géopolitique”, wherein regional quotas and ethnic identity form a crucial part of Congolese politics.

The regime has reached out to provinces and elites beyond Katanga, both to reward them for having voted for Kabila in 2011 and to achieve better geographical balance. Most prominent among these provinces is Maniema, just north of the new Tanganyika province and home to Kabila’s mother, Sifa Mahanya, which twice voted heavily for the president.[fn]Aside from Kabila’s mother, key Maniema actors are Denis Kalume Numbi, General François Olenga, Kabila’s military staff chief, Emmanuel Shadari, PPRD parliamentary group chair, and Pierre Lumbi, Movement for Social Renewal (MSR) party leader and ex-national security adviser.Hide Footnote  It is also Prime Minister Matata Ponyo’s base.

Ponyo is one of three PPRD politicians competing to lead the majority and possibly succeed the president. The other two are Aubin Minaku (Kwilu), the parliament’s speaker and majority’s secretary general, and Evariste Boshab (Kasai-Occidental), deputy prime minister and interior minister. Katangans note that none are from their province but may take some solace from the installation of Henri Mova Sakanyi as PPRD secretary general.[fn]Crisis Group interview, diplomat, Kinshasa, June 2015. Mova Sakanyi was ambassador in Brussels, 2009-2015.Hide Footnote  Though he has a small political base, he has quickly gained prominence and concentrated on refurbishing the PPRD’s machine.

These disputes between Katanga and the centre have played into schisms in the majority over the last year. The G7 group of parties split from the majority after publi­shing letters between February and September 2015 criticising the functioning of the majority and underlining damage done by the ill-prepared, under-resourced découpage. The final letter, sealing the split, called for respect of constitutional deadlines, essentially a demand that Kabila step down in December.[fn]Letters of 22 February, 5 March and 14 September 2015 on file with Crisis Group. Crisis Group interview Congolese politician, Kinshasa, March 2016; “RDC: le G7 se positionne dans l’opposi­tion”, Radio Okapi, 10 October 2015.Hide Footnote  The G7 includes the important Katangan parties UNAFEC, the National Union of Democrats and Federalists (UNADEF) and Avenir du Congo (ACO).[fn]The other parties in the G7 are the MSR, previously the second largest party in the majority; the Alliance for the Renewal of Congo (ARC) (Olivier Kamitatu), the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) (José Endundu) and the Solidarity Movement for Democracy and Development (MSDD) (Christophe Lutundula).Hide Footnote  Except for the weakened PPRD, only a few remaining parties in the majority have a significant following in Katanga, including Union for the Development of Congo (UDCO), now led by Jean-Claude Masangu, and Health Minister Félix Kabange Numbi’s Awakening of Consciousness for Work (ECT).[fn]Six of seven UDCO national legislators are from the old province and eight of the ECT’s ten.Hide Footnote

Hans Hoebeke Interview on CCTV Africa

Crisis Group's Hans Hoebeke talks to CCTV Africa's Fahmida on the situation in DRC, 25 January 2015 CCTV AFRICA

Some of these political frustrations have spilled onto the street. Lubumbashi saw protests in January 2015, and some incidents took place at Katumbi’s court case. These street protests have not reached Kinshasa levels, but they may become a more important factor as the electoral/constitutional crisis unfolds.[fn]A future Crisis Group paper will discuss street protests in DRC and government reactions.Hide Footnote

B. Armed Groups and Possible Violence

Armed groups have recently been active in Katanga, though they do not have overt political platforms, and their generally low-profile operations are not as extensive as those in the Kivus. In some cases, their activities are probably linked to the elite frustrations outlined above and the secessionist sentiments they feed. Many are remnants from the civil war, when the region’s north was partly occupied by RCD-Goma and Rwandan troops, and local self-defence groups were mobilised in reaction.[fn]For more, see Crisis Group Report, Katanga, op. cit.Hide Footnote  Tanganyika province, areas of Haut-Katanga and Haut-Lomami continue to suffer from the activities of some Forces démocratiques pour la libération du Rwanda (FDLR) and Mai Mai Yakutumba, both principally based in the Kivus.[fn]For a comprehensive analysis of Katangan armed groups and conflicts, see Georges Berghezan, “Groupes armés au Katanga, épicentre de multiples conflits”, GRIP, 9 June 2015; Michelle Brown and Michael Boyce, “DR Congo: Katanga in crisis”, Refugees International, 26 June 2014.Hide Footnote  There is also a conflict between the pygmy (Twa) and Bantu (Luba).[fn]For more, see “Nord-Katanga: Crise identitaire sur fond d’émancipation: conflit Bantous-Pygmées”, Le Rassembleur Magazine, no. 10, (undated), Lubumbashi, pp. 35-37; “DRC Congo: Ethnic Militias Attack Civilians in Katanga”, Human Rights Watch, 11 August 2015.Hide Footnote

One network of armed groups with overt links to Katangan identity issues is the Bakata Katanga (“Cut off Katanga” in Swahili), led by Kyungu Mutanga, better known as Gédéon. It claims to defend the region against exploitation by Kinshasa and reportedly has ties with small secessionist organisations.[fn]Gédéon, then leader of Mai Mai Gédéon, surrendered to MONUSCO in 2006 and was arrested. He was sentenced to death in 2009 (the DRC has a moratorium on the death penalty). He escaped in an outbreak of 1,000 prisoners in Lubumbashi in 2011. Crisis Group interview, MONUSCO official, Lubumbashi, June 2015. Groups calling for Katanga’s independence include Coordination pour l’organisation du référendum d’autodétermination du Katanga (CORAK), Congrès des Peuples du Katanga (CPK) and Conseil National de Transition du Katanga (CNTK).Hide Footnote  It is held responsible for most violence in what is known in Katanga as the “death triangle”.[fn]An informally named area that straddles Pweto, Haut-Katanga and Tanganyika provinces, as well as part of Malemba Nkulu in Haut-Lomami province, which suffered particularly badly in the second Congo war (1998-2003).Hide Footnote  It was particularly active in 2013, when, in March, many of its fighters marched into Lubumbashi. It is mainly present in Katanga’s centre but was also reported near Sakania, on the Zambian border.[fn]“Lubumbashi Takeover”, op. cit. Crisis Group interview, MONUSCO official, Lubumbashi, June 2015.Hide Footnote

The Bakata Katanga were allegedly connected to politicians with national prominence, such as oil minister, former defence minister and now Katanga Governor Aimé Ngoy Mukena;[fn]“Rapport sur le procès des crimes graves commis au Nord-Katanga par l’ex-chef milicien Gédéon Kyungu Mutanga”, Association Africaine de Défense des Droits de l’Homme, August 2008; “RDC: une vidéo refait surface et met le ministre des Hydrocarbures dans l’embarras vis-à-vis de Kabila”, Jeune Afrique, 7 December 2015.Hide Footnote  Gabriel Kyungu; ex-CENI head Pasteur Ngoy Mulunda; former Central Bank Governor Jean-Claude Masangu; and, in particular, John Numbi.[fn]UN Group of Experts Report, S/2014/42, 23 January 2014, pp. 15-17; “Katanga: qui se cache derrière les Kata Katanga”, Jeune Afrique, 14 May 2013; on Mulunda’s alleged links, “RDC: les ‘Bakata Katanga’, un nouveau parti politique?”, Afrikarabia.com, 20 August 2015; and “Groupes armés au Katanga, épicentre de multiples conflits”, op. cit., for links of those named to Bakata Katanga.Hide Footnote  Its reported links suggest a continued pattern of politicians using armed groups for leverage; local leaders believe, an observer said, “that Joseph Kabila only understands the language of rebellion”.[fn]Crisis Group email correspondence, civil society actor, Lubumbashi, October 2015.Hide Footnote  The UN group of experts concluded in 2014 that “the tolerance of Numbi’s support [to Bakata Katanga] indicates acquiescence at the highest levels of government”.[fn]“The Kata Katanga movement became active just before the 2011 elections. Several well-placed sources and local leaders in Katanga believe the group serves the interests of political and economic elites at the national and provincial levels. These elites may use Kata Katanga to create instability or, conversely, stability, depending on their needs”. UN Experts, op. cit., p. 16.Hide Footnote

Violence could flare up unexpectedly and exacerbate humanitarian problems. From 2011 to 2014, IDP’s in Katanga rose 900 per cent, to 500,000. This was due to the central government’s lack of attention to security; neglect of the army (FARDC; most resources went to the GR and other elite units); and the political connections of armed groups that delayed decisive action. It was also exacerbated by poor harvests, partly caused by farmers’ displacement and crop failures caused by the El Niño. MONUSCO, with 450 troops in mid-2014 in a province the size of Spain, was also particularly weak. The security challenges were compounded by difficult logistics, due to the lack of infrastructure, the fallout of the economic crisis affecting numerous workers and the dire humanitarian situation.[fn]“DR Congo: Katanga in crisis”, field note, Refugees International, 26 June 2014. Crisis Group commentary, “Lubumbashi Takeover”, op. cit. “Après la guerre, la faim dans le Katanga congolais”, www.irinnews.org, 1 April 2016.Hide Footnote

In mid-2014, MONUSCO and FARDC scaled-up operations against the Bakata Katanga, bringing some security improvement. IDP’s decreased, particularly in Pweto. Kabila also reshuffled command positions within FARDC and the military regions, notably appointing his cousin, Jean-Claude Kifwa, to head the wider south-eastern military zone and Philémon Yav, a former “Katangan Tiger”, as Katanga military region commander.[fn]“Rapport mensuel Protection Monitoring Katanga”, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), January 2015; “RDC: Katanga Rapport hebdomadaire du 29 juillet 2015”, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 29 July 2015. “Reshuffle in the Congolese army – qui bono?”, Christophvogel.net, 28 September 2014. “RDC: Philémon Yav, le Tigre de Kabila”, Jeune Afrique, 7 May 2015. Crisis Group Report, Katanga, op. cit., p. 6.Hide Footnote  Dozens of Bakata Katanga have surrendered, giving up weapons. However, few in Lubumbashi believe the group has been defeated; there is fear some politicians keep it in readiness for possible future need.[fn]Georges Berghezan, “Katanga: le calme avant la tempête?”, GRIP, 15 March 2016. Crisis Group email correspondence, Lubumbashi-based analyst, October 2015.Hide Footnote

These are not the only armed groups that should be a concern. On 30 December 2013, followers of the self-proclaimed prophet Mukungubila (from the same area as Kabila and an unsuccessful candidate in the 2006 election) attacked the state TV station (RTNC), the defence ministry and the national airport, all in Kinshasa.[fn]Around the same time, a group also attacked the airport of Kindu, Maniema province.Hide Footnote  A few hours later, government troops surrounded the group’s compound in a Lubumbashi residential area and attacked after followers were said to have opened fire. Reportedly several hundred followers were killed, most in Lubumbashi.[fn]“Carnage des adeptes du prophète Joseph Mukungubila Mutombo”, Rapport d’enquête, Action Citoyenne pour la Bonne Gouvernance, Centre pour la Justice et la Réconciliation, Humanisme et Droits Humains, Observatoire Congolais pour la Radioactivité, Justicia ASBL, Lubumbashi, 21 January 2014.Hide Footnote

Though the motivation of the attacks is still not entirely clear, they illustrate the potential consequences of unaddressed tensions between Katanga and the centre and between Katangan elites. Many observers believe they were an attempt by Lubakat elite to pressure the president and secure their positions in the government and security forces.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, UN officials, diplomats, Kinshasa, March 2014; Kinshasa, Lubumbashi May, June 2015. Mukungubila published a letter to Kabila on 5 December 2013 attacking his decision to name General Charles Bisengimana Rukira to head the PNC, denouncing Rukira for his supposed Rwandan origins and calling on security services to remove the president. Katumbi expressed support for the president.Hide Footnote  The failure to address the Bakata Katanga, the opaque nature of the Mukungubila affair and recent accusations against politicians of recruiting or harbouring a militia all point to the continued role of unaccountable armed elements in uncertain political times.[fn]“RDC: l’opposant Moïse Katumbi accusé d’avoir recours à des ‘mercenaires’”, RFI, 4 May 2016; “Intégralité de l’entretien du Président Joseph Kabila avec les notables Katangais”, YouTube,
6 January 2015.Hide Footnote

C. Moïse Katumbi’s Collision with the President

Former Katanga Governor Moïse Katumbi makes remarks during a meeting with U.S. government officials in Lubumbashi on 14 July 2015. USAID/Kaukab Jhumra Smith

Moïse Katumbi Chapwe is a Bemba from Kashobwe in Haut-Katanga province. When Mobutu was overthrown in 1997, he went into exile in Zambia, where he was close to the then President Frederick Chiluba and successful in business, especially transport. Joseph Kabila’s adviser, Katumba Mwanké, then Katanga’s governor, facilitated his return and remained a close ally and important intermediary with the president until his death in 2011. Katumbi became a Kabila supporter on his return and was elected Katanga governor in 2007 by the votes of 94 of the 102 members in the new provincial assembly.[fn]“Katanga’s new governor: man with a bold plan”, U.S. embassy Kinshasa cable, as published by wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07KINSHASA330_a.html. For a comprehensive profile, see Jean Omasombo, Biographie des acteurs de la Troisième République, CEP, Kinshasa, CERDAP, Lubumbashi, and Africa Museum Tervuren (Brussels, 2009). Katumba Mwanké, governor of Katanga, 1998–2001, was from the same region as Katumbi, whom he described as “certainly one of the better hopes our country has today” in his Ma Vérité (Nice, 2013, posthumous), pp. 127-129. Katumbi’s only opponent for the governorship was Pasteur Ngoy Mulunda (Lubakat), later CENI president (2011-2013) who ran the 2011 elections.Hide Footnote  He is an atypical Congolese politician, whose private business fortune, from fisheries, mining and transport, gives him an exceptional degree of independence from the central government.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, Kinshasa-based diplomat, June 2015; Lubumbashi, May-June 2015. Companies linked to Katumbi include the trucking firms Hakuna Matata, Muzuri Sana and Habari Kani, the latter a collaboration between Hakuna Matata and TFM. “Millionaire governor gears up for 2016 Congo election bid”, Reuters, 11 August 2015.Hide Footnote

Katumbi is a charismatic populist and generally credited with a good record as governor. He is also chairperson of Lubumbashi’s football team, “Tout Puissant Mazembe”, which is an Africa-wide success, and, like many politicians, has close connections to the media, including two TV stations.[fn]The football club gives him a national profile and puts him at the centre of a web of business interests. He took over from his Belgium-based brother, Raphaël Katebe Katoto, also a businessperson, who was close to the rebel group cum political party the RCD-Goma, which participated in the peace negotiations in the early 2000s before joining the transitional government, and to the UDPS. Omasombo, Biographie, op. cit., pp. 113-115. The team’s vice president is David Malta Forrest, CEO of the Group Forrest International, a major economic actor in Katanga. Nyota TV and TV Mapendo, linked to Katumbi, had their broadcasting licences revoked in January 2016. Close media connections are relatively common for politicians. The presidential family has interests in Digitalcongo, and several other Katangan political leaders own or are close to a TV station. Crisis Group interviews Lubumbashi, May-June 2015 and March 2016.Hide Footnote  These, along with a hands-on style, have made him well-known and popular, in Katanga and beyond. Because the government delayed provincial elections, he was governor for eight years instead of the mandated five. He gained strong support from the province’s elite in this period, including the provincial assembly and particularly its speaker, Gabriel Kyungu.[fn]Crisis Group interview, UNAFEC politician, Lubumbashi, June 2015.Hide Footnote

Some have raised conflict of interest questions regarding his business and political roles, but this has generally failed to tarnish his image, in part because of the perception that “since he is already rich, he won’t steal any more”.[fn]Crisis Group interview, Katangan elite, Lubumbashi, May-June 2015. “Ma part c’est combien?: la formule magique du Katanga …”, Le Carnet de Colette Braeckman (blog.lesoir.be), 26 November 2015.Hide Footnote  His tenure coincided with and benefited from the commodity boom, which led to significant infrastructure development in southern Katanga that contrasted, however, with the lack of development elsewhere in the province (see above).

Over the years, the relationship between the charismatic Katumbi and the more introverted Kabila became increasingly difficult. In the run-up to the 2011 elections, a seemingly disillusioned Katumbi announced he would leave politics. His position had come under pressure, as rumours that Zoë Kabila had eyes on the governorship increased and resonated favourably with several prominent northern Katanga Lubakat. But civil society organisations collected a million signatures on a petition imploring Katumbi to stay. A supporting rally a few weeks before the elections also highlighted the strong Katumbi-Kyungu alliance.[fn]“RDC: Moïse Katumbi arrête la politique”, Afrikarabia.com, 17 May 2011. “Les Kabila: de père en fils et de fils en frères? Un Kabila peut-il en cacher deux autres”, Wakati Yetu Wordpress, 21 November 2011. Later Zoë Kabila’s name appeared in particular as possible governor of the new Tanganyika province. “Moise Katumbi Chapwe bat campagne pour le Président Joseph Kabila Kabange”, ACP, 1 November 2011. MONUSCO document, dated 5 November 2011, in possession of Crisis Group.Hide Footnote

Tensions between Katangan leaders and the president escalated dramatically in late 2014 when Katumbi, Kyungu and Jean-Claude Muyambo separately took strong public positions against any constitutional amendment that would allow Kabila to stand for a third term. Muyambo was subsequently imprisoned, officially for an unrelated matter. The strongest political signal came from a Katumbi speech on 23 December 2014 in Lubumbashi in which he asked, “will we accept a third penalty?” – a clear message to Kabila, who was visiting Katanga at the time.[fn]“Fronde commune”, Jeune Afrique, 28 June 2015. Muyambo, formerly a Katumbi foe, was president of the Bemba association Sempya (2003-2005), humanitarian affairs minister (2007-2008) and president of the Lubumbashi Bar Association. In September 2007, he founded the Congolese Solidarity for Democracy and Development party (SCODE). For more, see Crisis Group Report, Congo, op. cit.; “DR Congo: Deadly Crackdown on Protests Halt Unlawful Shootings, Arrests”, Human Rights Watch, 24 January 2015. Muyambo was imprisoned in January 2015 and is still in jail. “Discours complet de Kyungu, Moise Katumbi et l’arrivée de Muyambo ce matin”, YouTube, 23 December 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=RazvlD9TFv8; “Le grand retour de Moïse Katumbi à Lubumbashi”, Le Carnet de Colette Braeckman, 23 December 2014.Hide Footnote

Kabila reacted during a meeting with the Katangan elite in January 2015, from which Katumbi, Kyungu and Muyambo were absent. Concerning découpage, he argued that opponents had not used all available legal avenues and that the provincial assembly Kyungu headed had not taken a position. He also criticised Kyungu and Katumbi for the province’s lack of social development. Days later, RG units raided the office of JUNAFEC, the youth wing of Kyungu’s party. Kabila also replaced leading customs and tax administration officials in the province to break Katumbi’s network. Muyambo responded, “… it is too late: Katanga is no longer with him [Kabila]”.[fn]“Joseph Kabila réussit son grand oral”, Le Rassembleur Magazine, January 2015, pp. 6-7; “Intégralité de l’entretien du Président Joseph Kabila avec les notables Katangais”, YouTube, 6 January 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHAPBLFk8EA. “La garde présidentielle au siège de l’UNAFEC à la Kenya”, www.katanganews.net, 9 January 2015. In that period, some 40 JUNAFEC members were arrested. “RDC: ce que Joseph Kabila a dit aux Katangais”, Jeune Afrique, 5 January 2015 (Crisis Group translation).Hide Footnote  Katumbi remained with the PPRD, but his distance from Kabila was now obvious.[fn]“Fin de la visite de travail du Premier ministre au Katanga”, ACP, 15 January 2015; “Le gouvernement ordonne le remplacement des responsables de la DGDA au Katanga”, Radio Okapi, 13 January 2015. “Présidentielle en RDC, redécoupage: entretien exclusive avec Moïse Katumbi”, RFI, 16 March 2015; “Congrès du PPRD à la FIKIN: Katumbi son absence a été très remarquée du début à la fin”, C-News, 19 May 2015.Hide Footnote

Further signs of deteriorating relations came in summer 2015. In June, the government reportedly transferred a general file on corruption to the national prosecutor with suggestions that it implicated Katumbi. This was later denied by the prosecutor, and the president appears to have backed away from levelling corruption allegations for now.[fn]“Kabila clouts Katumbi”, Africa Confidential, 7 August 2015; “Jean Kenge: En rire ou en pleurer?”, Congoresearchgroup.org, 16 July 2015; “RDC: le parquet a reçu une dénonciation, pas une plainte de Joseph Kabila contre des individus”, Radio Okapi, 3 July 2015. “Corruption Moise Katumbi amené devant la justice par Luzolo Bambi”, YouTube, 25 June 2015, https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=bI5hQ9l6w28.Hide Footnote
 In August 2015, Huit Mulongo, his former chief of cabinet, announced creation of a new platform, the Neo-Conakat, to preserve and promote Katumbi’s ideas.[fn]“Création à Lubumbashi d’une plate-forme dénommée Neo-CONAKAT”, ACP, 16 August 2015. Huit Mulongo, leader of the “Conscience républicaine pour la démocratie et le développement”, spoke out against a constitutional amendment on 28 October 2014. “Huit Mulongo: ‘La révision de la constitution n’est pas opportune’”, Radio Okapi, 28 October 2014.Hide Footnote  Its reference to Moïse Tshombe’s CONAKAT, which fought for Katangan independence, was remarkable.

Preparing for his new position as a Kabila opponent and with one eye on future elections, Katumbi reached out to international actors and other opposition politicians, including Kamerhe and Tshisekedi.[fn]Crisis Group interview, Congolese politician, Brussels, October 2015. Katumbi reportedly hired a U.S. law firm to facilitate discussions with U.S. policymakers about the 2016 DRC elections. “Millionaire governor gears up”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  Later, he joined the opposition platform “Citizen Front 2016” and took centre stage when he suggested opposition-wide primaries to choose a single opposition candidate. The idea was resisted by other opposition parties, fearful of his wealth and influence. They focused more on guaranteeing credible elections than who would contest them.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, civil society leader and opposition politician, Brussels, February 2016. “Elections – RD Congo – Vital Kamerhe: ‘Nous allons bousculer le pouvoir de Kabila’”, Le Point Afrique, 8 April 2016; “RDC: Katumbi face au défi de la candidature unique”, Afrikarabia.com, 31 March 2016.Hide Footnote  Since he left the majority, Katumbi has been close to the G7, and several other groups and parties have rallied to him. In May 2016, a new group, the AR, emerged, consisting of a dozen smaller parties, including Mayombo’s SCODE and several affiliated to people close to Katumbi.[fn]Including the National Party for Democracy and Development (PND), for which Katumbi’s brother, Abraham Kitanika Soriano, is a candidate for future provincial elections and the Conservateurs de la nature et démocrates (CONADE), a new party led by the brother of Katumbi’s political adviser, Salomon Idi Kalonda Della.Hide Footnote  He has also been underlining his links to the Catholic Church and received public support from Monseigneur Fulgence Muteba, bishop of Kilwa-Kasenga, his north Haut-Katanga birthplace.[fn]“Mgr. Fulgence Muteba commente la démission de Moïse Katumbi”, Radio Okapi, 7 October 2015. See also “Loi de programmation: des réactions de rejet”, Forum des As, 5 March 2015.Hide Footnote

On 30 March 2016, the G7 formally asked Katumbi to be a presidential candidate.[fn]Tweet by @G7_RDC, 30 March 2016.Hide Footnote  Realising that his attempt to inspire broader opposition unity had not worked, Katumbi declared his desire to stand on 4 May. On the same day, Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba announced an investigation into Katumbi for allegedly employing mercenaries.

On 8-9 June, some 100 Congolese opposition politicians and civil society representatives met in Genval, Belgium. Katumbi was absent, but several close advisers and his brother, Katebe Katoto, attended. The meeting, convened by Tshisekedi, led to creation of the “Rassemblement”, led by Tshisekedi, in close partnership with Katebe Katoto. It allows Katumbi to operate in close association to the historic opposition leader.[fn]Crisis Group email correspondence with diplomatic sources, Nairobi, June 2016; Crisis Group interviews, Congolese analyst, Kinshasa July 2016.Hide Footnote

The defections of Katumbi and the G7 have considerably weakened the majority in Katanga and especially Lubumbashi, where it has never had to contend with serious opposition. The government’s reaction has included suppressing public events by opposition groups, closing public space and shutting down media. In early April, the army paraded tanks and armoured vehicles in Lubumbashi.[fn]“RDC: l’opposition harcelée et muselée au Katanga”, Afrikarabia.com, 1 February 2016. “Troops and heavy weaponry deployment highlights increased civil unrest, war risk in DRC’s Katanga region”, IHS Jane’s Country Risk Daily Report, 15 April 2016.Hide Footnote  The government reportedly blocked Katumbi’s plane from using the city’s airport, pushed members of the G7 and officials close to Katumbi out of administrative positions and intimidated others.[fn]Such as the mayor of Likasi, a Scode member. “Communiqué N°012/JUS/2015 by Justicia Asbl”, 28 October 2015. Another interesting example was a 12 October 2015 letter by the ANR’s Haut-Katanga provincial director to the acting governor requesting he no longer invite UNAFEC and other G7 members to provincial security council meetings, on file with Crisis Group.Hide Footnote  The central government and PPRD have also reinvigorated attempts to retain support in Katanga, including by encouraging new parties, or factions within existing parties. This included an attempt by the government in early 2016 to hijack the UNAFEC party. However Kyungu was able to produce court documents on 5 February that confirmed his leadership of the party.[fn]Tweets by @AmbHenriMova, PPRD secretary general, 18-20 October 2015. This campaign included issuing new membership cards to PPRD ministers and deputies. “UNAFEC: la destitution de Gabriel Kyungu qualifiée de non statutaire”, Radio Okapi, 25 September 2015; another example of interference in the internal affairs of parties was when the interior minister recognised Patrick Bologna, a legislator close to the government, as national president of the ACO, whose leader is Danny Banza. Legal document, dated 5 February 2016, referring to court proceedings dated 10 July 2015, confirming Kyungu as the president of the UNAFEC party, on file with Crisis Group.Hide Footnote  The risk of escalation with UNAFEC remains high.

Both Kabila and Katumbi are mobilising and broadening their support. Kabila’s Katanga base seems concentrated with the Lunda-Ruund (Lualaba) and the Lubakat elite, in particular those from Malemba Nkulu. Katumbi is best established in Haut-Katanga and Kolwezi, but also has important allies in Tanganyika (Mwando Nsimba and the UNADEF), as well as some Lubakat allies, in particular Kyungu. His outreach to other Lubakat leaders seems not to have worked so far, and it remains to be seen how much découpage will reconfigure the political allegiances and dynamics between elites and the general population.[fn]Lualaba leaders from Lunda-Ruund include Diemu Chikez, Richard Mujey and Kalev Mutond. Crisis Group email correspondence, Katangan analyst, August 2015.Hide Footnote

Demonstrations and violence escalated in April and May 2016, when the government accused Katumbi of endangering national security. He was injured in a protest outside the Lubumbashi courthouse and eventually flew abroad for medical treatment, an avoidance of all-out confrontation that may have suited both sides. He was subsequently convicted in a civil dispute over ownership of property, but the ruling and three-year prison sentence can be challenged, because he was convicted in absentia.[fn]Crisis Group interview, Congolese lawyer, Kinshasa, July 2016. “RDC: l’opposant Katumbi condamné à 3 ans de prison pour un conflit immobilier”, Radio Okapi, 22 June 2016. The presiding judge later said she came under political pressure to deliver this verdict; “RD Congo: une juge de Lubumbashi affirme avoir subi des pressions pour faire condamner Katumbi”, Le Congolais, 27 July 2016.Hide Footnote  Nevertheless, the government has strong cards to play and is likely to continue to bring legal cases to keep him on the defensive.

The population of Katanga and other opposition parties have stayed quiet through this round of confrontation, but no one thinks the problems have been resolved. Katumbi does not have old links to armed groups, so the high level of political tension is not linked to the outbreaks of armed violence described above, though some of his allies, in particular UNAFEC, could be involved in street clashes. But relations between government and opposition are vital indicators of the health of the political system and thus of the country’s fragile stability.

V. The Way Ahead: Repairing Kinshasa-Katanga Relations

The fundamental breakdown of trust between Kinshasa and many Katangan elite and ordinary citizens reflects countrywide discontent with the regime as it tries to delay elections in ever more inventive ways. It also reveals very Katangan concerns about identity, power and entitlement. The confusion around découpage and electoral delays appears intentional. Necessary legislation for the effective functioning and budgetary survival of the new provinces has stalled. In October 2015, the government froze transfer of national tax revenue to the provinces and other decentralised entities and announced an audit of all provincial budgets, which may take a long time and create further crises. All this adds to a growing feeling that decentralisation gains and Katangan identity more widely are under attack.

The breakdown in trust and rising tensions risk triggering violent escalation. The concerns are at local, provincial and national levels. The most significant danger arises when the various tensions feed off each other, as appears to have happened with the 2013 Mukungubila incident that triggered violence in both Kinshasa and Katanga. An indication that the government is worried about such dynamics is the increased military presence in Haut-Katanga and Lualaba provinces. Particularly telling are the deployment of armoured vehicles near Lubumbashi and reinforcements in Kolwezi.

As the electoral deadline looms, government and opposition are increasingly focused on their fight to take or retain power and adopting a zero-sum approach. Real dialogue and government commitment not to manipulate the constitution for political purposes would contribute to de-escalating tensions across the country.

This situation is hardly promising for solving problems at local level, but it makes finding a way forward ever more important. Officials and elites at the local level have an interest in sustainable, credible structures to deal with the many community tensions that will arise from découpage, including disputes over “non-native” rights and political and economic arguments between new provinces. These are most likely when local and provincial elections are organised. Responsible leadership is needed from cultural and community leaders and authorities. At the least, national authorities must allow space for local reconciliation initiatives and not take actions that might exacerbate problems. Politicians on all sides must desist from politicising identity to shore up support bases.

The approaching elections necessitate further local action to deal with armed groups. Use of such groups to further political ambitions continues, in Katanga as well as the worse affected Kivus, despite fourteen years of official peace. However, while there has been some serious violence in Katanga over the last five years, and there is reason to believe the armed groups remain a threat, the frequency and intensity of incidents do not yet indicate an explosive situation. Where possible, disarmament and demobilisation should be carried out, though this needs to be carefully considered and done case by case, so as to not inflame tensions or create perceptions that some communities are being unfairly treated. Ultimately, dealing with armed groups in Katanga, as elsewhere in the country, is a political issue, and steps should be taken to discourage politicians from manipulating them for their purposes, includ­ing through monitoring and exposing their activities.

The UN, through MONUSCO, has an important role. Its presence in Katanga, though limited, is being beefed-up to deal with a possible upsurge in violence if political tensions continue to rise. While there are limits to what it can do when national forces confront their own citizens, MONUSCO should continue reinforcing its police component in urban centres, to help with monitoring Congolese police and military in case of urban unrest and to provide security for political officers and human rights monitors.[fn]Planning is underway at MONUSCO to boost early-warning capacity for election-related violence by creating mobile teams to monitor human rights and political issues in Lubumbashi (in addition to Kinshasa and Goma). The Mission is reviewing its military and police deployments in areas at high risk of election-related violence and enhancing its ability to protect UN personnel in urban centres, including Lubumbashi, by developing evacuation plans and deploying helicopters and armoured personnel carriers. “Report of the Secretary-General on [MONUSCO]”, UNSC S/
2016/579, 28 June 2016.Hide Footnote
 Operations by the FARDC against armed groups should be supported in line with experiences elsewhere in the country.

Rising political tensions in Katanga and the country at large coincide with a slump in the mineral export dependent economy. Major export prices are not expected to increase in the near future, leaving little margin to raise revenue other than by tackling corruption and increasing efficiency, but as political competition is patronage based, there is an ever more desperate fight over a shrinking cake.

The resulting drop in the budget, cut 22 per cent in 2016 to little over $7 billion, will considerably affect the national government’s capacity to maintain the previously inadequate levels of funding to the provinces. It also dispels hope of quickly operationalising the equalisation fund, so the disparities between provinces will remain. Nowhere are the problems as stark as in former Katanga, whose new landlocked provinces of Tanganyika and Haut-Lamami are among DRC’s poorest, while Haut Katanga and Lualaba are among the richest.[fn]Government expenditure in 2015 was $4.5 billion, including a $300 million deficit. Crisis Group interview, development official, Kinshasa, March 2016. “DRC: The Impact”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  The details are beyond this report’s scope, but initiatives on agriculture, energy supply, infrastructure and diversification to alleviate the immediate impact and remedy structural economic and developmental problems are vitally important to lower political resentment and prevent or slow armed groups’ recruitment.

After ten years of tentative decentralisation, which at least shifted some power to provincial assemblies and administrations, recent moves by Kinshasa have reversed the trend. Foreshadowing its probable approach in national elections, the majority has deployed all means at its disposal to ensure that nearly all provincial authorities are subject to its command. This adds to Kinshasa’s dominant position when handing out largesse in the provinces, which, even when done through Katangan politicians and officials, can fuel local resentments.

It is vital that the government makes the province-centre financial relationship far more transparent. While provincial administrations’ absorption capacity may prevent the full immediate application of constitutional and legal decentralisation provisions, progress is important so that provinces are eventually able to receive entitled resources. This should be in conjunction with a financial monitoring mechanism, so that decentralisation does not simply equate to decentralisation of corruption. The national audit office (Cour des Comptes) is mandated to take this role but is largely neutered by the president’s office. A more empowered audit office, with better civil society monitoring of financial flows, could help defuse province-centre tensions. Again, the national political climate does not currently lend itself to such progress, but these issues should not be ignored if a better balance is to be found.

It is no exaggeration that electoral preparations and the government’s actions to stay in power are fundamental threats to national cohesion and stability. Katanga, because of regime ties and its disproportionate economic weight, is one of the key battlegrounds, along with major urban centres such as Kinshasa, Goma and Kisangani. The lack of effective development, in particular in its north, and competing individual ambitions have pushed the Katangan elite into a dangerously polarised position. With resources distributed along patronage networks, it is determined to either keep a grip on central power (a determination potentially at odds with national democracy) or keep more resources at the provincial level. There is a danger that politicians will increasingly play the separatist card, expressed initially by desire to “reunify” in order to pressure the centre. Support for Katangan identity is not inherently illegitimate, and prospect of a strong separatist movement is currently remote, but the risk is that politicians will mobilise armed groups and networks to manipulate separatist sentiment for their political ends.

Katumbi’s declared presidential candidacy further escalated tensions from the provincial to national level. Several provincial political leaders have rallied to his camp, but Kabila retains strong Lubakat support, as well as a base in the new Lualaba province. Whether Katumbi and Kabila will ever contest an election head to head depends on future turns in the unfolding political drama, but if events since Katumbi announced his candidacy are an indication, the battle would be hard fought. Even now, the confrontation is likely to raise tensions, not just between province and centre, which are connected by multiple overlapping networks, but also by shifting elite alliances.

VI. Conclusion

To move the electoral, financial and political issues forward constructively and put in place transitional arrangements for the now inevitable delay of the November 2016 polls requires a minimum of trust between the main parties, a more coherent opposition and a step away from winner takes all politics.[fn]Moncrieff, “The reluctance of Joseph Kabila to cede power”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  Genuine, credible dialogue is needed, which should include but not be limited to a formal national dialogue. As elsewhere in the vast country, the risks of unpredictable deterioration and renewed violence are real in Katanga. Now is the time to head them off.

The UN and Congo’s other regional and wider international partners need to take the risks more seriously and use their shrinking leverage more effectively. MONU­SCO should reinforce its police and human rights monitoring in Katanga; donors should consider more support for local bodies that monitor activities of both state security forces and armed groups. Though the government will try hard to keep the international community out of its relations with the new provinces, mediation efforts to bring the main parties in political disputes together should keep the subject on the table. The stakes are high, as the progress achieved in DRC since 2006 could quickly evaporate, and the country, still hosting the UN’s largest peacekeeping mission, could descend into a new, deep crisis reminiscent of the late 1990’s.

Nairobi/Brussels, 3 August 2016[fn]Crisis Group receives financial support from a wide range of governments, foundations and private sources. For more information, please see Our Supporters. For a full print version of this report with a list of supporters, please apply to brussels@crisisgroup.org.Hide Footnote

An artisanal miner works at Tilwizembe, a former industrial copper-cobalt mine, outside of Kolwezi, the capital city of Lualaba Province in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, June 11, 2016. Picture taken June 11, 2016. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe
Report 290 / Africa

Mineral Concessions: Avoiding Conflict in DR Congo’s Mining Heartland

Copper and cobalt are the Democratic Republic of Congo’s two biggest exports. Artisanal miners often dig for these riches on lands licensed to large companies, sometimes prompting violent state intervention. The government should instead foster better ways for citizens to share in the mineral wealth.

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What’s new? Competition between industrial and artisanal miners is a source of tension in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the mineral-rich provinces of Haut-Katanga and Lualaba, state security forces intervened in 2019 to expel over 10,000 artisanal miners who were encroaching on two of the country’s largest industrial mining sites.

Why did it happen? Artisanal miners lack economic opportunities. They are often denied access to industrial sites, even for purposes of exploiting commercially non-viable deposits, and the region lacks artisanal mining zones. Local politicians sometimes seek to advance their own interests by encouraging artisanal miners to take confrontational actions.

Why does it matter? President Félix Tshisekedi faces the twin challenges of defusing mining sector tensions and working within the fragile political coalition he has formed with his rival, former President Joseph Kabila. Whether or not he succeeds will bear on the country’s stability and prosperity, as well as on his political future.

What should be done? To create economic opportunities for artisanal miners, the DRC government should create artisanal mining zones and remove impediments to industrial subcontracting of artisanal miners. Mining companies should meet their legal obligations to support community development, and standard-setting organisations should make clear that they see industrial-artisanal cooperation as responsible corporate behaviour.

Executive Summary

In June and July 2019, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s security forces evicted artisanal miners encroaching on two of the country’s largest industrial mining sites in Haut-Katanga and Lualaba provinces. In addition to deaths and injuries, the expulsions caused more than 10,000 artisanal miners to lose their only means of generating income. Avoiding violence around mining sites while reforming this vital sector of the DRC’s economy to improve citizens’ livelihoods is an important challenge for President Félix Tshisekedi. A central goal should be to foster economic opportunities for the artisanal miners. Together, the government and the private sector should create viable new artisanal mining zones. Companies should work to reduce the risk of flare-ups by subcontracting artisanal miners to exploit deposits not central to company operations. The government should ensure that its decrees do not undermine the legal basis for such arrangements, and industry standard setters should make clear that subcontracting does not violate precepts of corporate social responsibility.

Artisanal miners and other mining heartland residents express frustration at the lack of opportunity industrial mining provides.

Tensions between industrial and artisanal miners in Haut-Katanga and Lualaba are partly economic in nature. Artisanal miners and other mining heartland residents express frustration at the lack of opportunity industrial mining provides – whether in the form of jobs, investments in community development projects or commercial relationships with local merchants. In addition, the DRC government has over time extended industrial mining permits to cover virtually all land where mineral deposits have been found, leaving almost no space for artisanal mining zones.

The government enacted a new mining law in 2018 that might help relieve some of these tensions. It compels industrial mining companies to spend part of their revenue on community projects and allows them to subcontract work to artisanal mining cooperatives. The planned creation of a new state entity with exclusive rights to purchase artisanally mined cobalt could, however, undercut the ability to subcontract and the economic opportunities that come with it.

Much as economic frustration fuels tensions around mining in Haut-Katanga and Lualaba, the sector is potentially explosive for other reasons as well. Artisanal mining attracts workers from elsewhere in the DRC, which helps spin a narrative that “migrants”, in particular from nearby Kasai province, are “stealing” the Katanga region’s mineral wealth. Both Katangese nationalism and anti-Kasaian sentiment have led to violence in the past. These tensions shoot through the governing coalition that Tshisekedi, whose family hails from Kasai, has formed with his predecessor Joseph Kabila, whose power base was Katanga. The coalition’s internal frictions resonate especially keenly in Haut-Katanga and Lualaba.

Case studies of three different mining sites in Haut-Katanga and Lualaba, two of which have experienced violence, highlight local factors that can exacerbate bad relations between artisanal and industrial mining operations, and offer clues about steps that might help with de-escalation. They indicate that artisanal miners have tended to become especially frustrated in cases where industrial site deposits were both highly attractive and highly inaccessible. Efforts by local politicians to manipulate miners to further their own interests, sometimes at the risk of provoking confrontation, were also important factors in stoking potential violence.

The DRC government should help artisanal miners earn livelihoods by carving out new artisanal mining zones.

To diminish tensions between industrial and artisanal miners, and the corresponding risk of violence, the DRC government should help artisanal miners earn livelihoods by carving out new artisanal mining zones, working with industrial companies to do initial groundwork to prepare sites within these zones for artisanal mining, and protect these new sites from being taken over by industrial mining companies. The government should also protect the right of industrial companies to subcontract with artisanal cooperatives by carving these arrangements out of the decree directing a newly established (but not yet stood up) government entity to purchase all artisanally mined cobalt. For their part, mining companies should subcontract artisanal miners to exploit deposits they cannot profitably mine – conditional on artisanal miners upholding basic safety, labour and environmental standards – and comply with provisions in the recently enacted iteration of the mining law that require mining companies to contribute a set percentage of their revenue directly to local development.

Organisations setting due diligence standards for mining also have a role to play. These organisations used to consider artisanal mining to be exclusively a channel for funding armed groups and reflected this view in their due diligence requirements. More recently, they have recognised its potential as a source of livelihoods. They should adapt their formal standards to convey that industrial mining companies can harm local development efforts and increase the potential for violence if they fail to adopt policies that take into account the needs of artisanal miners and the communities where they live.

It will not be easy for President Tshisekedi to make headway on the fraught issue of artisanal mining. But while the need to work in a fraying coalition with Kabila no doubt constrains Tshisekedi’s capacity to make many of the above changes, he can still press for them, seek to harness the support of political allies and begin generating momentum for their achievement. Even if the effort fails to achieve all of its goals in the near term, it can only improve prospects for peace and prosperity in the DRC’s mining heartland.

Lubumbashi/Nairobi/New York/Brussels, 30 June 2020

I. Introduction

In June and July 2019, soldiers entered the two largest industrial mining sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).[fn]TFM and the Kamoto Copper Company mine are the DRC’s largest as measured by government revenue in 2015. “Democratic Republic of Congo”, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), 10 June 2020.Hide Footnote  Their mission was to remove more than 10,000 artisanal miners, men and women who had been encroaching on these sites, individually or in small groups, in order to dig for cobalt and copper ore with little to no mechanisation.[fn]Thomas Hentschel, Felix Hruschka and Michael Priester, “Global Report on Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining”, Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development, January 2002.Hide Footnote  The troops torched the artisanal miners’ homes and drove them out.[fn]Aaron Ross, “Send in the troops: Congo raises the stakes on illegal mining”, Reuters, 17 July 2019.Hide Footnote

One of the sites where the soldiers intervened was the Tenke Fungurume Mine (TFM), located in the Tenke and Fungurume localities in the country’s south east. Mining has radically changed life in this region, starting in 1972 with the first industrial operation. The company running TFM advertised over 20,000 jobs when it first opened, and attracted almost twice as many job hopefuls to the area. The region’s population trebled virtually overnight. The industrial mining operation was short-lived, however, and its new hires soon found themselves unemployed. Some turned to artisanal mining, digging up ore with shovels and storing it in sacks to be transported to buying houses. When this work proved remunerative, more people joined in. These included “locals”, as well as in-migrants from nearby towns and other DRC provinces.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local officials, civil society representatives, Fungurume, September 2019.Hide Footnote

It was a recipe for over two decades of tense and intermittently violent relations among artisanal miners, the mining police and the army.

When industrial operations at TFM recommenced in the late 1990s, the new operator found thousands (20,000 by some accounts) of artisanal miners on the site covered by its licence.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local civil society representatives, artisanal miners, Fungurume, September 2019.Hide Footnote  It was a recipe for over two decades of tense and intermittently violent relations among artisanal miners, the mining police and the army. The mining police periodically expelled artisanal miners from parts of TFM, but proved unable to keep them off the site consistently.[fn]“China Moly struggles with artisanal mining in DRC”, American Metal Market, 23 November 2016.Hide Footnote  The miners kept encroaching on the site, protesting and at times rioting over their expulsion.[fn]“Congo police clash with illegal miners at Tenke Fungurume mine”, Dow Jones Business News, 28 October 2009.Hide Footnote  The army was present at the site for long periods and appeared to alternate between allowing artisanal miners access to TFM – to the point of fighting the mining police over the matter – and driving them off.[fn]“DR Congo troops exchange fire with police guarding mines in Katanga province”, BBC, 28 December 2005. “Tenke Fungurume ‘de-militarised’”, Africa Mining Intelligence, 19 October 2005. Raf Custers and Sara Nordbrand, “Risky Business: The Lundin Group’s Involvement in the Tenke Fungurume Mining Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, Diakonia, SwedWatch and International Peace Information Services (IPIS), 19 February 2008. Crisis Group interviews, local officials and civil society representative, Fungurume, September 2019.Hide Footnote  In the early months of 2019, artisanal miners, cued by the sound of industrial explosives, invaded the site en masse and carried off tonnes of dislodged ore.

Several months later, the military returned in force. To the inhabitants of the nearby village of Kamfwa, the army’s June-July 2019 intervention differed from past ones because, for the first time, soldiers moved beyond the mining sites to burn the houses of miners and farmers alike.[fn]Ross, “Send in the troops”, op. cit. Crisis Group interviews, local officials, civil society representatives, Fungurume, September 2019.Hide Footnote  Within a week of the evictions at TFM, the army removed thousands of artisanal miners from the Kamoto Copper Company mine, less than 160km to the west, leading to three deaths according to some sources.[fn]Aaron Ross, “Congo army evicts illegal miners from Glencore project, sparks protest”, Reuters, 4 July 2019.Hide Footnote

Direct and sometimes violent competition between artisanal and industrial miners is pervasive in the DRC.

Direct and sometimes violent competition between artisanal and industrial miners is pervasive in the DRC. A 2015 survey of artisanal mining sites in the country’s east and south east found that 63 per cent of them were located on lands where industrial companies held mining permits. According to that survey, less than 1 per cent of artisanal mining was taking place in zones that the government had designated for that purpose.[fn]Analysis of the Interactive Map of Artisanal Mining Areas in Eastern DR Congo”, IPIS, October 2016.Hide Footnote

This report explores what stokes and ignites tensions between industrial and artisanal miners, and how those tensions might be defused. It examines the challenges that President Félix Tshisekedi and his government face in making changes to the mining sector and, against this backdrop, considers the circumstances at three individual mines. It is based on field observations from visits to areas around mining operations, interviews with local residents, community leaders and civil society figures, news reports on the mining sector, data sets recording violent events (see Appendix B) and other publicly available information. Crisis Group was unable to obtain formal comment on this research and analysis from either the state mining company Gécamines or the privately owned companies operating the mines discussed below, despite multiple efforts to contact local representatives and official headquarters.[fn]Crisis Group consultants attempted to contact the staff at all three mines that are the subject of this study (Kipushi, Luiswishi and TFM). The Kipushi mine community outreach office deferred questions to the main office, operating outside the DRC, which did not respond to subsequent Crisis Group inquiries. At Luiswishi mine, Crisis Group consultants could not locate a point of contact at either the mining site or an office of the operating company in Lubumbashi. At TFM, Crisis Group consultants were referred to the community liaison office, which declined to participate in the research. Prior to this report’s publication, Crisis Group also contacted the headquarters of the owners of all three sites, using public contact details, but received no response.Hide Footnote  This report is the first in a series of Crisis Group writings about extractive industries and conflict.

II. Tshisekedi’s Challenge: The National Political Minefield

When President Tshisekedi assumed office in January 2019, he vowed to combat poverty and stabilise the country. In order to deliver on that promise and have a successful presidency, it will be important for him to make clear progress toward converting the DRC’s vast mineral wealth into tangible benefits for its citizens. He could start with those who eke out a living through artisanal mining and others who reside, impoverished, in the vicinity of industrial mines.

Tshisekedi is playing an imperfect hand. Artisanal mining is a difficult, dangerous and under-regulated business presenting a wide range of challenges, from work site safety to environmental dangers to child labour exploitation.[fn]Artisanal miners face especially hazardous working conditions when they encroach on sites of industrial operations. As discussed below, for example, a landslide cost 43 artisanal miners their lives while they were working without authorisation at the Kamoto Copper Company mine in June 2019. “Death toll at DRC mine rises to 43”, Financial Times, 28 June 2019. Célestin Banza Lubaba Nkulu et al., “Sustainability of Artisanal Mining of Cobalt in DR Congo”, Nature Sustainability, vol. 1, no. 9 (2018), pp. 495-504. One study estimates that children are working at one in four DRC artisanal mining sites. “Interconnected Supply Chains: A Comprehensive Look at Due Diligence Challenges and Opportunities Sourcing Cobalt and Copper from the Democratic Republic of Congo”, OECD Working Paper, 2019.Hide Footnote  In considering which tasks he can take on, Tshisekedi must weigh constraints imposed by political reality and also consider how he can best work within a mix of old and new laws and decrees that in some cases operate at cross-purposes.

The global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 outbreak is already affecting the mining sector and will complicate Tshisekedi’s ambitions.

Moreover, the global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 outbreak is already affecting the mining sector and will complicate Tshisekedi’s ambitions to use the country’s mineral wealth to benefit a greater portion of its population. According to the mining ministry, falling global demand and world prices for major mining products will translate into revenues that fall short of the government’s targets.[fn]Jean Pierre Okenda, “How the DRC Can Defend Its Mining Interests during the Pandemic”, Natural Resource Governance Institute, 30 April 2020.Hide Footnote  Copper and cobalt prices have already significantly dropped over the past few months. South Africa’s lockdown measures have reduced commerce at its ports, through which the DRC ships minerals to China (its primary customer) and other destinations.[fn]Document published by the DRC mining ministry, “Analyse de l’impact de la pandémie du COVID-19 sur le secteur minier de la République Démocratique du Congo”, 13 April 2020; Okenda, “How the DRC Can Defend Its Mining Interests during the Pandemic”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  With the mining sector, which is the main driver of the DRC’s economic growth, in recession, the central bank has already predicted that the country’s GDP will shrink by 1.9 per cent in 2020, compared to 4.4 per cent growth the previous year.[fn]“Congo GDP to shrink for first time since war, central bank says”, Bloomberg, 1 May 2020.Hide Footnote

 Still, for all these challenges, there is room for the government to offer greater opportunities and protections for the country’s roughly two million artisanal miners.[fn]See the Delve database.Hide Footnote

A. The Political Battle

The contrast between the size of the DRC’s mineral wealth and the poverty of its citizens is jarring. The DRC has a large share of world reserves of highly sought-after minerals like cobalt, which is a key raw material for rechargeable batteries (see Appendix A). Its mining sector sits at the heart of the economy, constituting over 90 per cent of exports (see Appendix F).[fn]Rapport Annuel 2016, Banque Centrale du Congo, 7 November 2017, p. 122.Hide Footnote  Taxes paid by the extractives sector stood at $1.57 billion in 2018, a near-doubling compared to 2019.[fn]“Congo’s public revenues from mining sector nearly double in 2018”, Reuters, 3 April 2019; “Democratic Republic of Congo: Overview”, World Bank, 20 April 2019.Hide Footnote  Yet visible benefits to Congolese citizens are few: the latest World Bank estimates put the extreme poverty rate in the DRC at 72 per cent.[fn]Democratic Republic of Congo: Overview”, World Bank, 4 May 2020.Hide Footnote

Coalition dynamics continue to pose a significant obstacle to change in the mining sector.

President Tshisekedi faces significant challenges in effectively controlling the mining sector, and has been criticised for doing little to employ mining revenue to help DRC citizens.[fn]Romain Gras and Stanis Bujakera Shiamala, “DRC: One year in and Félix Tshisekedi is yet to make his mark”, The Africa Report, 27 January 2020.Hide Footnote  One of the main problems has been the extent to which he must share power with his predecessor’s political network, members of which occupy government positions key to the mining sector. Tshisekedi’s Cap pour le Changement (CACH) coalition is obliged to work with former President Joseph Kabila’s Front Commun pour le Congo (FCC), which controls the majority of seats in the national assembly. The dynamics of the FCC-CACH coalition have started to shift since the beginning of 2020, as Tshisekedi has slowly increased his autonomy by expanding his control over the security forces, fighting corruption harder and trying to sideline figures from the Kabila era.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, diplomats, UN mission officials and government officials, Kinshasa, February 2020; Crisis Group telephone interviews, diplomats, former army insider and member of Tshisekedi’s inner circle, April and May 2020.Hide Footnote  Nevertheless, coalition dynamics continue to pose a significant obstacle to change in the mining sector.

Key positions in the coalition government, national institutions and state-owned companies are still occupied by Kabila allies, including Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba, Minister of Mines Willy Kitobo Samsoni, Minister of Portfolio Clément Kwete Nymi Bemuna (who is responsible for public companies) and Minister of Finance José Sele Yalaghuli.[fn]Many of these officials have particular clout in the mining industry because they were born in the former Katanga, the DRC’s mining heartland. Katanga was a province before it was split into four new provinces (Tanganyika, Haut-Katanga, Lualaba and Haut-Lomami) in 2015. This report refers to those four provinces as the “Katanga region” and to people native to any these four provinces as “Katangese”. Despite Katanga’s disappearance as a province, “Katangese” identity is still important to some inhabitants of the region. Prime Minister Ilunga was born in Haut-Katanga, Minister Kitobo in Kipushi, Haut-Katanga and Yuma in Tanganyika. Ministers Sele and Kwete are from Sud-Ubangi and Kasai provinces, respectively.Hide Footnote  Another important figure, Albert Yuma, has since November 2010 presided over the state mining company, Gécamines, and is a long-time Kabila ally. With Kabila’s supporters firmly in place throughout the government, Tshisekedi will find it hard to realise his ambition of gaining greater control over mining revenues and thus improving citizens’ socio-economic conditions.[fn]“Discours-programme du gouvernement devant l’Assemblée Nationle présenté par son Excellence Monsieur le Premier Ministre Ilunga Ilunkamba”, 4 September 2019.Hide Footnote

Although Tshisekedi has attempted to dismantle much of his predecessor’s network, he has had limited impact in dislodging Kabila’s supporters from positions of influence, including at Gécamines.[fn]Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala, “Albert Yuma, pris entre deux feux”, Jeune Afrique, 26 January 2020.Hide Footnote  In May 2019, Kabila reportedly pushed for Yuma to be nominated as prime minister, but Tshisekedi resisted, agreeing instead that he remain chair of Gécamines as part of a political horse trade.[fn]Tshiamala, “Albert Yuma, pris entre deux feux”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  To counterbalance Yuma, Tshisekedi appointed his ally, Sama Lukonde Kyenge, as the company’s new managing director. Kabila allies long blocked this appointment, but the public portfolio minister eventually approved Kyenge’s nomination in late June 2020.[fn]Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala, “DRC appointments to Gecamines and the SNCC still blocked”, The Africa Report, 28 June 2019; Aaron Ross, “Congo president wins approval for nominees at state mining company”, Reuters, 26 June 2020.Hide Footnote  Having his own allies at the top of Gécamines will likely allow Tshisekedi to exert more influence over the state mining company, though the extent of this leverage is as of yet unclear.

At the end of 2019, Tshisekedi made an unsuccessful push to get rid of Yuma by calling the Congolese public’s attention to a prosecutorial investigation into Gécamines.[fn]“Congo prosecutors probe Israeli billionaire’s loan to state mining company”, Reuters, 23 December 2019; Tshiamala, “Albert Yuma, pris entre deux feux”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  The underlying facts date to 2017, when Gécamines accepted a controversial €128 million loan from businessman Dan Gertler, a close Kabila associate who is sanctioned by the U.S. treasury department.[fn]“Treasury Sanctions Fourteen Entities Affiliated with Corrupt Businessman Dan Gertler under Global Magnitsky”, U.S. Department of Treasury, 15 June 2018.Hide Footnote  Human rights and anti-corruption organisations have questioned whether this loan was a front for money laundering.[fn]Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala, “DRC: Albert Yuma and Dan Gertler in complex Gécamines loan dispute”, The Africa Report, 7 January 2020.Hide Footnote  Though these claims are unproven, the prosecutor’s office requested that Yuma and other senior Gécamines officials remain at its disposal to participate in the investigation. Immigration authorities banned Yuma from travelling outside Kinshasa.[fn]Tshiamala, “Albert Yuma, pris entre deux feux”, op. cit.Hide Footnote

There has been no apparent movement on the file since, with Kabila seemingly protecting Yuma, and justice authorities preoccupied with other high-profile cases.[fn]Crisis Group telephone interview, Kinshasa-based lawyer, May 2020.Hide Footnote  Yuma’s travel restrictions could potentially be lifted after Kyenge’s appointment, allowing Yuma to travel to Lubumbashi to see Kyenge take his new position.[fn]“RDC: Gécamines, l’Assemblée Générale entérine la nomination des membres du Conseil d’administration”, Zoom Eco, 26 June 2020.Hide Footnote

B. Legal Developments

The government presented new measures primarily as an important step toward raising internal revenues.

The Congolese legislature recently changed the national mining code. The amended code, approved in 2018 under Kabila, significantly raised the level of tax for companies mining “strategic minerals” – including cobalt – and placed several additional demands and restrictions on companies, relative to the previous 2002 code. The government felt emboldened to make such changes because the high international demand for its minerals, especially cobalt, was generating significant profits for industrial mining companies. It presented these new measures primarily as an important step toward raising internal revenues for the state. The measures received backing from both national and international civil society organisations monitoring extractive activities but incurred mining companies’ displeasure.[fn]Fabien Myani, “Réforme de la législation minière de la République Démocratique du Congo: Regards sur la contribution des organisations de la société civile”, Cordaid, September 2018. Although officials consulted the private sector in developing the new legislation, many companies feel that the tax rates it imposes on their activities are excessive. Daniel Mulé, “Understanding DRC’s New Mining Law Power Play: Will the Congolese People Benefit?”, Oxfam America, 19 April 2018; Crisis Group interview, senior ministry of mines official, Kinshasa, February 2020.Hide Footnote  Tshisekedi has stated his support for the code, and therefore seems unlikely to work with the legislature to change it, at least in the medium term.[fn]“Discours du président de la République sur l’état de la Nation en 2019 (intégral)”, 13 December 2019.Hide Footnote

The code contains three key provisions that have the potential to shape relations among mining companies, artisanal miners and local communities.[fn]“Code Minière”, Journal Officiel de la République Démocratique du Congo, 28 March 2018.Hide Footnote

First, it requires that companies pay 0.3 per cent of their revenues to “community development projects”. The 2002 code required no such contribution. Civil society organisations welcomed the change, because it means that residents of mining areas will directly receive a (small) percentage of mining revenue and do not have to rely on funding trickling down from federal administrative entities. The provision has been unevenly applied, however, as discussed below.

Secondly, the code requires artisanal miners to be members of a cooperative and allows industrial miners to subcontract mining activities to cooperatives. This change, too, is significant because it gives mining companies and artisanal miners a legal basis for collaboration. Companies benefit in that they can subcontract with a cooperative to monetise deposits for which they hold a licence but that they cannot profitably exploit using industrial methods. Artisanal miners benefit in that, at least in theory, they can subcontract to mine legally on land under industrial licence and deal directly with mining companies. Subcontracting generally allows them to charge companies higher prices for the ore they extract than they could if selling through buying houses.

This reform, however, has been less than fully successful. To begin with, not all DRC artisanal mining cooperatives represent their members’ interests. Some are owned by representatives of the political elite and demand unofficial payments from their members that can amount to 20 per cent of their production.[fn]“Interconnected Supply Chains”, op. cit., p. 13.Hide Footnote  Moreover, the government recently created a new entity, discussed below, whose mandate is at cross-purposes with the 2018 mining code.

The likelihood that a mineral-rich property will be designated and remain an artisanal mining zone is very slim.

Finally, the 2018 code – like its 2002 predecessor – provides rules governing both the creation and closure of artisanal mining zones. In theory, these zones should allow artisanal mining to take place legally. In practice, only a very small fraction of artisanal mining takes place in formal artisanal mining zones – a mere fifteen of over 2,000 mines visited in a 2015 study.[fn]“Analysis of the Interactive Map of Artisanal Mining Areas in Eastern DR Congo”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  There are several reasons why. As a threshold matter, potentially mineral-bearing land in the DRC is already covered almost entirely by industrial mining permits (see Appendix B). Moreover, the mining code prohibits the government’s conversion of an industrial site into an artisanal mining zone. By contrast, the minister of mines is permitted by law to close any artisanal mining zone with 60 days’ notice if a deposit that can only be exploited by industrial means is discovered. Hence, the likelihood that a mineral-rich property will be designated and remain an artisanal mining zone is very slim.

In November 2019, the prime minister issued two decrees that foreshadow both further complications and some opportunities for helping artisanal miners share in the country’s mineral wealth.[fn]Décret N°19/16 du 05 Nov. 2019 portant création, organisation et fonctionnement de l’autorité de régulation et de contrôle des marchés des substances minérales stratégiques. Décret N°19/15 du 5 Nov. 2019 portant sauvegarde des activités relatives aux substances minérales stratégiques d’exploitation artisanale. See also “RDC: un monopole d'État pour le cobalt artisanal”, RFI, 6 February 2020.Hide Footnote  One creates a new body – Autorité de Régulation et de Contrôle des Marchés des Substances Minérales Stratégiques (ARECOMS) – intended to oversee cooperatives and ensure that they function correctly. This body could help counter the predatory activity by owners of artisanal cooperatives described above.

The other decree authorises Gécamines to set up a subsidiary, Entreprise Générale du Cobalt, which will have a monopoly on purchases of artisanal cobalt – artisanal production constitutes over 20 per cent of the national production of this mineral. According to the latter decree, the subsidiary was to start operations in early 2020, but in practice Gécamines is still looking for ways to finance its activities.[fn]Michael Kavanagh, “Trader Trafigura in talks with Congo over financing cobalt buyer”, Bloomberg, 13 February 2020; Crisis Group phone interview, mining expert, Kinshasa, June 2020.Hide Footnote  Despite both Gécamines’ and the authorities’ lack of financial resources, the mining minister announced in June that the state-controlled buying of artisanal cobalt by Entreprise Générale du Cobalt would start in September 2020.[fn]“Congo aims to launch state cobalt monopoly in two months, mines minister says”, Reuters, 25 June 2020.Hide Footnote

Although the creation of Entreprise Générale du Cobalt is ostensibly aimed, at least in part, at ensuring artisanal miners a fair price, there are reasons to fear that not all of them will get one.[fn]Crisis Group interview, Congolese official, Kinshasa, February 2020.Hide Footnote  First, the measure that creates the new entity also prohibits industrial miners from buying directly from artisanal cooperatives, which would seem to directly undermine the new provisions in the 2018 mining code enabling companies to subcontract to artisanal miners. Secondly, in addition to questions about how the new subsidiary will finance purchases, it is unclear whether it will be in a position to offer higher prices to artisanal miners than those offered by buying houses.

The creation and management of Entreprise Générale du Cobalt could result in renewed tensions between Tshisekedi’s and Kabila’s factions. By decree the subsidiary is to include presidential and provincial representatives on its board, alongside those of the prime minister and the minister of mines. These appointments will likely be mired in power struggles similar to those seen for Gécamines positions - although the June 2020 approval of Kyenge’s nomination as director general largely solved the the dispute over the state mining company’s management. Some analysts who follow the DRC mining sector fear that, given the large financial stakes that would be involved in the subsidiary’s transactions, there is a substantial risk of funds being misappropriated.[fn]Crisis Group interview, mining expert, Kinshasa, January 2020. “Que pensez-vous de la création par la Gécamines d’une société pour encadrer l’artisanat minier?”, Radio Okapi, 20 December 2019.Hide Footnote

III. Haut-Katanga and Lualaba: The DRC’s Mining Heartland

Alongside political rivalries at the national level, Tshisekedi has to navigate tensions in the key mining provinces of Lualaba and Haut-Katanga. His main challenge is to avoid clashes between locally rooted Katangese in mining areas and a large population that has relocated to the region from nearby Kasai province to try to make a living from artisanal mining. Haut-Katanga and Lualaba have a history of anti-Kasaian violence, and recent demonstrations have scapegoated Kasaians for crime and lack of economic opportunities in the area.[fn]“Insécurité à Lubumbashi: des jeunes s’en prennent aux ‘Kasaïens’”, Congo Durable, n.d. Crisis Group observation, Lubumbashi, 5 March 2020. Miles Larmer and Erik Kennes, “Katanga’s Secessionism in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, in Lotje de Vries, Pierre Englebert and Mareike Schomerus (eds.), Secessionism in African Politics (London, 2019), pp. 371-401.Hide Footnote  In the near term, it may be difficult to reduce frictions if, as seems likely, unemployment rises further in the face of COVID-19.[fn]Some companies in the Katanga region have already suspended their activities because of the fall in commodity prices and the Chinese economic slowdown, which has hurt the market for Congolese minerals. For instance, Mutanda mining, a Glencore subsidiary, Sicomines and Kamoa Copper are not exploiting their mines at present. See Denise Maheho, “Coronavirus: le secteur minier quasi à l'arrêt en RDC”, RFI, 4 May 2020. On 22 June, Lualaba province registered its first two COVID-19 cases, after which the province’s governor halted artisanal cobalt trade for a week. See Michael Kavanagh, “Congo halts artisanal cobalt trade in key province on virus”, Bloomberg, 26 June 2020.Hide Footnote  Over the longer term, however, strengthening economic prospects for artisanal miners in Haut-Katanga and Lualaba, regardless of whether they are locals or migrants, could be a useful strategy for Tshisekedi to decrease competition between the two groups.

Tshisekedi must strike a delicate local balance.

Tshisekedi must strike a delicate local balance. While virtually all copper and cobalt revenue, representing over 80 per cent of DRC exports (see Appendix F), comes from the provinces of the Katanga region, his political party has close ties to the Kasai region. Indeed, his political support in Haut-Katanga and Lualaba lies mostly with the large population of Kasaian descent. By contrast, Joseph Kabila and main opposition leader Moïse Katumbi, who both come from Katanga, enjoy the support of distinct sections of its non-Kasaian population.[fn]See Crisis Group Statement, “A Nuanced but Firm Political Approach for DR Congo’s Decisive Autumn”, 15 September 2016.Hide Footnote  To be sure, Tshisekedi received an unexpected boost when Antoine Gabriel Kyungu Wa Kumwanza, former governor of Katanga and current member of Haut-Katanga’s provincial assembly, whose party is firmly anchored in the Katanga region, became the first major Katangese voice to accept his victory; although originally in the Katumbi camp, Kyungu has supported Tshisekedi since.[fn]Marie-France Cros, “Kyungu se rallie à Tshisekedi: l’opposition Lamuka est divisée”, La Libre Afrique, 28 January 2019 ; In June 2020, the public portfolio minister approved Kyungu’s appointment as head of the board of directors of the state railway company, which had been pending for a year, in the same set of actions that saw Kyenge become Gécamines’ managing director.. See: “SNCC : Kyungu wa Kumwanza notifié de sa nomination”, Mediacongo, 25 June 2020.Hide Footnote

Still, ethnic dynamics in the region remain a challenge for Tshisekedi. Tensions in the coalition that Tshisekedi formed with Kabila are keenly felt in Katanga. In November 2019, Kabila supporters in Lualaba burnt Tshisekedi posters in response to similar destruction of Kabila placards in Kinshasa.[fn]Crisis Group WhatsApp communication, local journalist, October 2019; “RDC: inquiétude face aux tensions entre communautés kasaïenne et katangaise”, RFI, 21 November 2019.Hide Footnote  In March, demonstrators in Haut-Katanga’s capital, Lubumbashi, sought to blame the Kasaians for insecurity caused by armed bands who frequently rob, extort and shoot civilians in the city.[fn]“Insécurité à Lubumbashi: des jeunes s’en prennent aux ‘Kasaïens’”, op. cit. Crisis Group observation, Lubumbashi, 5 March 2020.Hide Footnote

Katangese nationalist politicians, including Kyungu Wa Kumwanza, have in the past referred to mining to stoke ethnic grievances.[fn]“Zaire: Inciting Hatred – Violence against Kasaiens in Shaba”, Human Rights Watch, June 1993.Hide Footnote  In particular, they have spread the narrative that “outsiders” – referring to both migrant workers from the Kasai region and power holders in Kinshasa – are stealing “Katanga’s” mineral wealth.[fn]Larmer and Kennes, “Katanga’s Secessionism in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  In the early 1990s, this perception led to widespread violence targeting tens of thousands of people originating from Kasai.[fn]Larmer and Kennes, “Katanga’s Secessionism in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, op. cit.Hide Footnote

 These anti-Kasaian narratives tend to find more resonance when livelihoods in Haut-Katanga and Lualaba are under pressure.[fn]“Insécurité à Lubumbashi: des jeunes s’en prennent aux ‘Kasaïens’”, op. cit. Crisis Group observation, Lubumbashi, 5 March 2020.Hide Footnote  For this reason, the combined effects of the June-July 2019 army intervention that deprived over 10,000 artisanal miners of their jobs and the economic downturn due to the COVID-19 outbreak are cause for concern.[fn]Okenda, “How the DRC Can Defend Its Mining Interests during the Pandemic”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  Reforms that help secure safer, more stable and higher-earning livelihoods for artisanal miners, both those born in Katanga and those who have come from elsewhere in the DRC, could contribute to easing competition and tensions between the two groups. They could also benefit a significant number of people, as artisanal miners’ earnings support between 10 and 12 per cent of the region’s population.[fn]Haut-Katanga and Lualaba are home to an estimated 140,000-200,000 artisanal miners, representing roughly 2 per cent of the region’s population. Crisis Group interview, Catholic Church representative, 10 July 2019; “DRC: Statistiques des populations par zones de santé”, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 13 September 2019. Because each artisanal miner is estimated to have four to five dependents, a further 8-10 per cent of the population may depend on artisanal miners’ earnings indirectly. Ruben de Koning, “Conflict between Industrial and Artisanal Mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Case Studies from Katanga, Ituri and Kivu”, in Sandra Evers, Caroline Seagle and Froukje Krijtenburg (eds.), Africa for Sale? (Leiden, 2013), pp. 181-200.Hide Footnote  As set out below, such reforms could include establishment of new artisanal mining zones and measures to support cooperation between industrial concerns and artisanal miners.[fn]In June 2020, Lualaba’s provincial governor stated that all minerals produced through small-scale artisanal mining, including cobalt, should be tested and sold at a centralised trade hub starting 29 June. According to the governor this should limit mining fraud and increase state revenues, but the impact and enforceability of the governor’s order are uncertain. See: “Cobalt-rich Congo province to centralise mineral sales”, Reuters, 25 June 2020.  
 Hide Footnote

IV. A Tale of Three Sites

Case studies of three mining sites – TFM, Kipushi and Luiswishi – illustrate the dynamics among industrial mining companies, artisanal miners and residents of the areas where mining occurs, sometimes with intervening Congolese security forces as well. All three sites sit atop copper and cobalt deposits in the south-eastern DRC, the first in Lualaba and the other two in Haut-Katanga. But each has experienced different levels of violence, owing in part to differences in the opportunities they afford artisanal miners to pursue livelihoods on their respective premises.

A. Tenke Fungurume Mining

TFM has experienced the highest level of violence among the three mining sites examined here.

Located in Lualaba province, TFM is a joint venture between the DRC’s state mining company Gécamines and China Molybdenum (CMOC). Industrial production of copper and cobalt at the site goes back to the early 1970s, when Gécamines started a short-lived pilot operation in the area.

The current joint venture dates from 1996, when majority ownership was held by Lundin Holdings, a Swedish-Canadian company.[fn]Custers and Nordbrand, “Risky Business: The Lundin Group’s Involvement in the Tenke Fungurume Mining Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  CMOC entered the joint venture by acquiring a majority share in 2016 and now owns 80 per cent of the operation.[fn]“China Moly to increase stake in Congo’s Tenke copper mine to 80 percent”, Reuters, 18 January 2019.Hide Footnote  According to the latest reported figures, TFM has grown to become the DRC’s largest mine in terms of government revenue generation.[fn]“Democratic Republic of Congo”, EITI, op. cit.Hide Footnote  In October 2018, the last month of available data, TFM accounted for more than a quarter of government mining revenue from Haut-Katanga and Lualaba.[fn]“Statistiques de la Redevance Minière par Quotité Emises pour la Période d’Octobre 2018”, Division Provinciale Des Mines/Katanga-Sud Lumumbashi.Hide Footnote

Artisanal and industrial mining at the TFM site led to a large influx of migrants from other provinces. The population of the Tenke and Fungurume localities has grown more than tenfold since mining started in the area.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local officials, civil society representatives, Fungurume, September 2019.Hide Footnote  Population growth began with a mass hiring campaign by Gécamines in 1972, which attracted more than 40,000 prospective employees hailing mostly from Haut-Katanga and Kasai.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local officials, civil society representatives, Fungurume, September 2019.Hide Footnote  Over the years, artisanal mining prospects drew additional migrants from other provinces, including artisanal miners expelled from sites in Haut-Katanga and Kasaians fleeing violence in their home region. Today, hundreds of people reportedly arrive daily from Kasai alone, and Kasaians make up the majority of artisanal miners in the area.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local civil society representatives, local traditional chiefs, Fungurume, September 2019.Hide Footnote

From TFM’s inception, violent conflict and periodic army intervention have marred relations between the company operating the site and artisanal miners. After Gécamines’ pilot operation in the 1970s, the site was non-operational for more than two decades because the company was experiencing financial difficulties. Both migrants who had hoped to be employed by the failed venture and locals took to artisanal mining on the site. Hence, when the new joint venture was born in the late 1990s, it was confronted with thousands of artisanal miners present on the land it was licensed to exploit. In addition to artisanal miners, a reserve contingent of Congolese soldiers was housed at the site during the second Congo war (1998-2003); Lundin, then a joint venture partner, accused the troops of digging for ore at the site alongside artisanal miners.[fn]Custers and Nordbrand, “Risky Business”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  Citing Gécamines’ and DRC authorities’ inability to stop such mining, among other reasons, Lundin froze operations in 1999.[fn]Custers and Nordbrand, “Risky Business”, op. cit.Hide Footnote

The result was intermittent violence, as the mining police and company security forces removed artisanal miners from the site yet proved unable to prevent them from re-entering.

When the joint venture restarted operations in 2005, large numbers of artisanal miners and soldiers remained at TFM. The result was intermittent violence, as the mining police and company security forces removed artisanal miners from the site yet proved unable to prevent them from re-entering.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local officials, civil society representatives, Fungurume, September 2019.Hide Footnote  TFM’s size – some of its pits measure tens of kilometres in diameter – hindered removal efforts. News reports also suggest that soldiers were still involved in artisanal mining themselves, clashing with the mining police.[fn]“Tenke Fungurume ‘de-militarised’”, op. cit.Hide Footnote

In 2005, the army and mining police exchanged fire on several occasions, and the army tore down roadblocks police had erected to stop artisanally mined minerals from exiting the area.[fn]“DR Congo troops exchange fire with police guarding mines in Katanga province”, BBC, 28 December 2005.Hide Footnote  Some members of the police and artisanal miners died in these clashes.[fn]“Katanga: des confrontations sanglantes signalées dans la concession de la société minière Tenke-Fungurume Mining”, Radio Okapi, 28 September 2005; “Accrochages entre éléments des FARDC et police des mines à Fungurume”, Radio Okapi, 27 December 2005.Hide Footnote  Local civil society representatives and traditional chiefs report that the armed forces were involved in both the expulsion of artisanal miners and (re)allowing them access to the TFM site, and human rights activists have alleged that soldiers participated in illegal mining at the site alongside artisanal miners for the benefit of high-ranking officers.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local civil society representatives, traditional chiefs, September 2019. Custers and Nordbrand, “Risky Business”, op. cit.Hide Footnote

After the 2005 clashes, the military temporarily pulled out of the TFM site, but the encroachment of artisanal miners on the site and associated violence continued. Miners often entered the site at night (sometimes cued by the sound of explosions used to loosen large amounts of ore) to mine or steal ore dislodged by industrial operations.[fn]“Tenke Fungurume ‘de-militarised’”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  In 2009, artisanal miners and the mining police clashed after a group of artisanal miners was once more expelled from the TFM site.[fn]“Congo police clash with illegal miners at Tenke Fungurume mine”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  In subsequent years, artisanal miners, whose ranks reportedly include demobilised combatants from regional conflicts and residents of nearby villages, staged repeated violent demonstrations demanding access to parts of the site.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, civil society representatives, Lualaba and Fungurume; mineral buyers and artisanal miners, Kolwezi, Tenke and Fungurume, September 2019.Hide Footnote  The scale of ore theft sharply increased in 2019. The increase may have been facilitated by another round of demilitarisation of mining sites that April, which removed even the selective barrier to entry the military provided and left private security forces with the nearly impossible task of keeping the artisanal miners out.[fn]“L’envahissement des sites miniers des industriels et la problématique de leur sécurisation”, Rapport de la 32ème plénière, Cadre de dialogue pour les investissements durables au Katanga, July 2019.Hide Footnote

It is against this backdrop that, in June 2019, the army staged its largest intervention since 2005, forcibly expelling thousands of artisanal miners, killing at least one person, and burning miners’ houses built on land licensed to TFM and houses in nearby villages.[fn]Ross, “Send in the troops”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  Yet even this intervention failed to stop the artisanal miners’ encroachment at TFM. Artisanal miners report that soldiers remained at TFM, either to engage in mining themselves or to use their control over access to extort entry fees or confiscate the miners’ work product, often physically abusing them.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local civil society representatives, artisanal miners, September 2019.Hide Footnote

There are some possible structural explanations for these recurrent phenomena. High among them is that there are no artisanal mining zones within 50km of the TFM site. Those that once existed have been placed under industrial licences or are now owned privately by politically well-connected individuals.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, artisanal miners, community leaders, Kolwezi, Tenke and Fungurume, 14-19 September 2019.Hide Footnote  The authorities appear to understand that this lack of alternative mining sites contributes to frustration. After protests demanding the establishment of new artisanal mining zones, provincial authorities in Lualaba promised in September 2019 to establish three such zones, but no location has yet been disclosed.[fn]Richard Muyej, “Mot de son Excellence Monsieur Le Gouverneur à l’occasion du lancement du Projet social Cobalt pour le Développement”, Cabinet du Gouverneur, September 2019.Hide Footnote  Given how much land is covered by industrial licences in Lualaba, creating such zones would likely require a licence-holder voluntarily to relinquish rights over an industrial production or exploration site (see Appendix B). Even that might not solve the problem. Artisanal miners at TFM worry that such sites might not have enough ore underground to provide them livelihoods, and in any case they cannot afford the up-front costs of groundworks to prepare a new site for mining.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local civil society representatives, artisanal miners, September 2019.Hide Footnote

It might help if industrial mining companies were to chip in.

It might help if industrial mining companies were to chip in. Sicomines, a consortium of several China-registered mining companies including TFM’s CMOC, separately claims to have earmarked $2.5 million for the formation of new artisanal mining zones, which could cover the costs of groundworks.[fn]Muyej, “Mot de son Excellence Monsieur Le Gouverneur à l’occasion du lancement du Projet social Cobalt pour le Développement”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  Up to this point, however, traditional authorities and area residents complain that CMOC has done precious little to contribute to local development, which further contributes to tensions surrounding TFM. Chiefs from villages around TFM mention that CMOC hires little local labour and that it terminated one of the few contracts that put money into the area’s economy (a contract to purchase food locally) when it acquired a stake in TFM.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, civil society and church representatives, Lubumbashi, Luiswishi and Kipushi, July 2019; Kolwezi, Tenke and Fungurume, September 2019.Hide Footnote

The villages have also had disputes with CMOC regarding TFM’s social fund. Ostensibly dedicated to local development efforts, it should, according to the 2018 mining code, be financed by the venture through an 0.3 per cent contribution of its revenue. In the past, funds provided by the company have been used to build a school and dig water wells, but village chiefs reported that money is no longer being disbursed.[fn]Crisis Group interview, local chiefs, September 2019. The company did not respond to Crisis Group requests for comment.Hide Footnote

Tensions relating to the social fund and other disputes between local residents and TFM are further aggravated by the absence of contact between the mining company and the population. The site does not have a community outreach office and chiefs claim to have no means of getting in touch with CMOC.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local chiefs, September 2019. A Crisis Group analyst attempted to get access to a community outreach office at the site, but was told there was none.Hide Footnote

Residents also suggest that local politicians and businessmen with personal interests in artisanal mining may contribute to the level of unrest at TFM. As described in a 2019 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) working paper, politically connected persons are closely involved in the artisanal mining sector throughout Haut-Katanga and Lualaba. According to the paper, these individuals sometimes control both buying houses for artisanal minerals and the “cooperatives” that are supposed to help the miners organise and work together.[fn]“Interconnected Supply Chains”, op. cit.Hide Footnote

Sometimes, the interests of local figures lead them to exploit volatile situations for personal gain.

Much as politicians in Kinshasa vie for control over industrial mining activities because of the economic and political stakes, local figures around TFM do the same with respect to artisanal mining. Sometimes, their interests lead them to exploit volatile situations for personal gain. For example, after the artisanal miners were expelled from the TFM commercial sites, some relocated to alternative sites controlled by a well-connected individual who demanded they give him a share of production and sell exclusively to one buyer.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, artisanal miners, community leaders, Kolwezi, Tenke and Fungurume, 14-19 September 2019.Hide Footnote  Some artisanal miners also report that a local politician encouraged them to enter a commercial site, using force if necessary.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, artisanal miners, community leaders, Kolwezi, Tenke and Fungurume, 14-19 September 2019.Hide Footnote  Yet, although this politician urged what could have been a violent encounter, he and others have cited unrest at TFM in attacking their political rivals and advancing public narratives that Kasaian “immigrants” are exclusively responsible for any nuisance caused by artisanal miners.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, artisanal miners, community leaders, Kolwezi, Tenke and Fungurume, 14-19 September 2019.Hide Footnote  Without a formal artisanal mining zone, artisanal miners are vulnerable to exploitation by powerful actors, who create instability when it benefits their political or economic agenda.

Finally, TFM’s sheer size may have contributed to the tensions that the region has seen. Elsewhere in the DRC’s mining heartland, many people – particularly native residents – rely on farming for sustenance at least part of the year. Because TFM is so big, however, it holds the prospect of year-round livelihoods for a large number of artisanal miners. Thus, it has drawn a substantial cohort that need not rely at all on agriculture to sustain itself. It seems likely that this group is particularly motivated to maintain continuous access to the mines for economic reasons. This cohort of full-time miners may be emboldened by its numbers – and perhaps by the presence of demobilised combatants in its midst – to continue doing so even at the risk of violent confrontation.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, civil society representatives, Lualaba and Fungurume; mineral buyers and artisanal miners, Kolwezi, Tenke and Fungurume, September 2019.Hide Footnote

B. Luiswishi Mine

Although lack of artisanal mining zones and resulting competition between industrial and artisanal miners is a common feature across Haut-Katanga and Lualaba, the Luiswishi and Kipushi mining sites illustrate that these tensions need not inevitably lead to violence.

Luiswishi is a medium-sized open pit mine close to Haut-Katanga’s capital of Lubumbashi. The company operating it is wholly owned by a Chinese mining company, Congo Dongfang International Mining, which acquired it in 2015.[fn]This company is a subsidiary of Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt.Hide Footnote  Prior to the acquisition, a Belgian company – the Forrest Group – owned a controlling stake.

Historically, Luiswishi had been the site of violent confrontation between industrial and artisanal miners. Amnesty International detailed how, in 2009, in response to a large influx of artisanal miners onto the Luiswishi mining site, the Forrest Group requested assistance from state security forces.[fn]“Bulldozed: How a Mining Company Buried the Truth about Forced Evictions in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, Amnesty International, 24 November 2014.Hide Footnote  Members of the mining police, local police and armed forces demolished hundreds of dwellings inhabited by artisanal miners. Similar to what happened at TFM, miners’ dwellings, as well as houses from non-mining nearby residents, were destroyed.[fn]Ibid. The Forrest Group has stated that only temporary structures belonging to artisanal miners were destroyed, that it believes those demolitions were legal, and that it was not responsible for the demolition of homes in Kawama. Amnesty judges these statements to be untrue. See also Ross, “Send in the troops”, op. cit.Hide Footnote

Since the 2009 demolitions, however, no further violence has been reported in Luiswishi. There appear to be a number of contributing factors. Chief among them is that mineral deposits at Luiswishi are simultaneously less attractive and more accessible to artisanal miners. They are less attractive because the ore at Luiswishi is somewhat radioactive, leading to increasing health concerns on the miners’ part, although people engage in artisanal mining during the agricultural off-season nevertheless.[fn]Radiation levels at the Luiswishi mine”, Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa cable, 11 July 2007, as made public by WikiLeaks (07KINSHASA796_a).Hide Footnote  They are more accessible because since 2009, miners have been able to exploit at least some low-grade mineral deposits and “slag heaps” (ie, leftover material from past smelting that still contains mineral content) for ore. After the 2009 violence and prior to the mine changing hands in 2015, the then-owner appears to have informally permitted some extraction from low-grade deposits on the mining site.[fn]Crisis Group interview, local village chief, Luiswishi, 16 July 2019.Hide Footnote  Although the current owner does not allow it, there are still some off-site slag heaps and low-grade deposits where artisanal miners can prospect.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local chief, Luiswishi, 16 July 2019; local civil society representative, Lubumbashi, 11 July 2019.Hide Footnote

The profile of the artisanal miners at Luiswishi also differs from that at TFM. Artisanal mining around Luiswishi is a seasonal activity that occurs during the agricultural off-season, and miners are only partially reliant on it for their livelihoods.[fn]Crisis Group interview, local civil society representative, Lubumbashi, 11 July 2019.Hide Footnote  Also, unlike at TFM, Crisis Group research uncovered no evidence of presence of demobilised combatants among artisanal miners, nor evidence of manipulation of artisanal miners by local power holders.

Circumstances facing artisanal miners at Luiswishi overlap with those at TFM in certain key respects, all of which create friction (if not violence) within the community.

That said, circumstances facing artisanal miners at Luiswishi overlap with those at TFM in certain key respects, all of which create friction (if not violence) within the community. There are virtually no viable artisanal mining zones in the region, Haut-Katanga, given the breadth of licencing for industrial concerns (see Appendix B). Nor would many miners be willing to risk their livelihoods by moving to a new site should one appear, especially if it lacked the groundworks and proven reserves.[fn]“L’envahissement des sites miniers des industriels et la problématique de leur sécurisation”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  Moreover, as in the case of TFM, inhabitants of villages close to Luiswishi mine resent the lack of benefits flowing to them. They complain that the operating company hires scarcely any labour locally (except for occasional, low-paid day labourers), that it is incommunicative and that it is not investing (to the best of their knowledge) in local villages.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local village chief, local leader, Luiswishi, 16 July 2019.Hide Footnote  Residents also protest diminished access to agricultural land, and damage to buildings caused by the use of explosives.[fn]Crisis Group interview, local village chief, Luiswishi, 16 July 2019.Hide Footnote

The Luiswishi mine illustrates that locals’ grievances do not inevitably lead to violence. What distinguishes Luiswishi from TFM is the combination of better access to livelihood opportunities for artisanal miners, in the form of access to slag heaps and low-grade deposits, and the lower demand for access, both because Luiswishi is smaller and its deposits less attractive to artisanal miners and because artisanal mining at Luiswishi is a part-time activity.

C. Kipushi Mine

The Kipushi mine shares certain characteristics with both TFM and Luiswishi. These include a dearth of artisanal mining zones in its surroundings and frustrations among inhabitants of nearby villages about the environmental consequences of mining. Like elsewhere in Haut-Katanga and Lualaba, the mining industry around Kipushi has over time also attracted numerous migrants from other regions of the DRC. Many have come from the Kasai region. As early as the 1950s, the majority of the population in the Kipushi region was born elsewhere.[fn]Jean Omasombo Tshonda (ed.), Haut-Katanga: Lorsque richesses économiques et pouvoirs politiques forcent une identité régionale – Tome 2: bassin du cuivre: matrice et horizon, 2018, pp. 16, 21.Hide Footnote

Yet the mine has no history of violence. There are several possible explanations. Large portions of Kipushi’s mineral deposits can only be mined by industrial means, limiting the scope for competition between industrial and artisanal miners. At the same time, artisanal miners enjoy better access to the small share of deposits they can mine due to company practices. Furthermore, the Kipushi mine’s operator contributes more to alternative livelihood opportunities for the local population.[fn]Crisis Group interview, company representative, Kipushi, 19 July 2019. Crisis Group interviews, local civil society representatives, Kipushi, 18 July 2019.Hide Footnote

Several distinct mining-related activities take place on or near the Kipushi site. Its largest operation is an underground mine, a joint venture between Gécamines and a Canadian mining company, Ivanhoe, which acquired a majority stake in 2011.[fn]“Kipushi Zn-Cu Project: Preliminary Economic Assessment”, Ivanhoe Mines, May 2016.Hide Footnote  This mine has a long history, having operated under state ownership in colonial times. As for other mining-related activities, Gécamines operates an ore concentrator at Kipushi, which processes ore mined at a separate nearby site. In addition, a third company operates near the site to reprocess copper-cobalt slag.

Kipushi’s underground resources are not physically accessible to artisanal miners, limiting the potential for direct confrontation.

Kipushi’s underground resources are not physically accessible to artisanal miners, limiting the potential for direct confrontation. At the same time, artisanal miners have better access to those surface deposits that they could feasibly mine. Artisanal miners can exploit slag heaps in the vicinity, and various site operators tolerate artisanal mining of low-grade deposits near the site. These deposits are mainly a source of livelihood for artisanal miners during the agricultural off-season; as a result, artisanal miners’ demands for access are less constant, for example, than those of their counterparts at TFM.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local civil society representatives, Kipushi, 18 July 2019.Hide Footnote

Ivanhoe has also invested in livelihood projects and community outreach. Projects promoting alternative livelihoods include a textiles workshop for women, which also produces garments purchased by the company, and programs to increase the area’s agricultural productivity.[fn]Crisis Group interview, company representative, Kipushi, 19 July 2019.Hide Footnote  The company also runs a community outreach office that the local population can contact to raise concerns. Inhabitants of the area near Kipushi seem pleased with the community outreach office and the access to Ivanhoe that it affords them, although they consider the livelihood projects to be largely symbolic.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local civil society representatives, Kipushi, 18 July 2019.Hide Footnote  Ivanhoe’s production operations have yet to start, and there is hope among the local population that jobs will follow once it does.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local civil society representatives, Kipushi, 18 July 2019.Hide Footnote  The number of new jobs could be disappointing, however, as underground mining operations in Kipushi are not labour-intensive and require skills that most local miners lack.

The population around Kipushi harbours noticeable frustrations with industrial mining, particularly regarding its environmental and health consequences.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, civil society and church representatives, Lubumbashi, Luiswishi and Kipushi, July 2019; Kolwezi, Tenke and Fungurume, July 2019.Hide Footnote  Past Gécamines mining practices in Kipushi, and the concentrator it still operates at the site, are responsible for polluting a water body that runs through a heavily populated area.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, local civil society representatives, Kipushi, 18 July 2019.Hide Footnote  To date, however, these frustrations have not led to violence.

V. Dynamics Sparking Conflict

At each of the three mining sites discussed above, the lack of artisanal mining zones in the region puts artisanal miners in direct competition with industrial miners. The sites also resemble each other in that local chiefs and populations are frustrated with the fact that industrial mining companies have contributed little to local development. At each site, addressing these frustrations is very important, as they fuel near-constant tensions between industrial mining companies, on one hand, and artisanal miners and inhabitants of nearby villages, on the other. That said, these sites have not had the same experience with tensions boiling over into violence. There appear to be important differences that have both made TFM more prone to violence and, at certain moments, pushed it over the brink.

A. Denial of Access to Attractive Deposits

As noted above, a significant difference between TFM, where tensions recently triggered large-scale violence, and Kipushi and Luiswishi, is that deposits at TFM are simultaneously more attractive and less accessible to artisanal miners.

The operating company at the TFM site, CMOC, leaves on its site exposed veins with lower-grade ore deposits that are attractive to artisanal miners. The company has no apparent intention to exploit these veins, but does not allow artisanal miners access to them.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, civil society representatives, Lubumbashi, Kolwezi and Fungurume, July and September 2019. The company did not respond to Crisis Group requests for comment.Hide Footnote  Artisanal miners thus have an incentive to encroach on the mining site – either to exploit the deposits themselves or to steal minerals already extracted by the company – setting the stage for the kind of confrontations that occurred in June-July 2019.

Residents have made clear their frustrations with the company’s approach.

Residents have made clear their frustrations with the company’s approach. Over the past years, artisanal miners and other locals have staged repeated, sometimes violent, demonstrations demanding that CMOC give them access to areas with low-grade deposits, without success. The company similarly has rebuffed requests to allow artisanal mining at slag heaps, likely because such access would prompt more theft of company-mined minerals.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, civil society representatives, Lualaba and Fungurume; mineral buyers and artisanal miners, Kolwezi, Tenke and Fungurume, September 2019.Hide Footnote

By contrast, at Kipushi and Luiswishi, the two mines experiencing lower levels of violence, deposits are less attractive to miners because they are underground or (in the Luiswishi case) potentially somewhat radioactive, although the possible danger has not completely deterred artisanal mining. Simultaneously, miners at both sites have access to slag heaps and low-grade deposits.

The notion that the attractiveness of mineral deposits to artisanal miners affects risks of violence around mining sites finds partial support when one compares the incidence of violence around regional mines containing both cobalt and copper, on one hand, to that occurring around mines where copper alone is present, on the other.[fn]This comparison speaks to the attractiveness of deposits, although not to artisanal miners’ (lack of) access to them, which is harder to measure.Hide Footnote  Although a handful of these mines facilitate semi-formal access for artisanal miners to part of the site, the industrial mining companies’ standard position is to refuse cooperation with artisanal miners.[fn]“Interconnected Supply Chains”, op. cit.Hide Footnote

While artisanal miners are interested in both copper and cobalt, cobalt is a bigger draw because of its higher value-to-weight ratio and because efficient copper mining requires large-scale operations.[fn]“Summary of Key Trafficking in Persons Risk Factors in Copper Production”, Verité, n.d.Hide Footnote  Consistent with the theory that economically attractive deposits to which artisanal miners are categorically denied access can drive up tensions, dozens of violent incidents have taken place yearly over the past decade within a 5km radius of mines containing cobalt and copper, and many fewer around mines containing only copper (see Appendix E).

B. Capacity for Manipulation

Another key difference between TFM and the other two mines is that at TFM, some local businessmen and politicians acting out of personal interests appear to be encouraging artisanal miners to behave in ways that could lead to confrontation or violence, and to be scapegoating the Kasaian immigrants among the miners in ways that could contribute to unrest.

As artisanal miners lack legal protections or access to the state’s pledged specialised mining zones, they are particularly vulnerable to manipulation by power holders who see financial and political benefits to generating local conflict.

As noted above, economic interests in controlling local artisanal mining activities can be substantial and, when combined with pre-existing political rivalries, can create perverse incentives to exploit the volatile situations at industrial sites to generate profits and sow discord. As artisanal miners lack legal protections or access to the state’s pledged specialised mining zones, they are particularly vulnerable to manipulation by power holders who see financial and political benefits to generating local conflict. In TFM’s case, while underlying social tensions and the site’s economic scale contribute to a fragile situation, the opportunity for power holders to personally benefit by using their influence to generate instability seems to have contributed to increasing volatility that culminated in a significant military intervention.

Crisis Group research uncovered no similar recent examples of manipulation by local politicians at Kipushi and Luiswishi mines. Mineral deposits at these mines are less attractive to artisanal miners, and artisanal mining is a part-time activity, so potential rewards for such activities would be lower there.

VI. Opportunities for De-escalation

Tensions created by the encroachment of artisanal miners on industrial mining sites in Haut-Katanga and Lualaba could continue to prompt violence and even threaten provincial stability. President Tshisekedi, private-sector actors and civil society should have a mutual interest in de-escalating these tensions.

A. A Political Push by President Tshisekedi

Tshisekedi could use his political clout to steer the government toward carrying out the law for the benefit of the nation’s two million artisanal miners.

Tshisekedi has been torn between the need, on one hand, to make good on his political commitment to spread the benefits of mining to a wider group of Congolese citizens, particularly as the 2023 elections draw closer, and, on the other, to maintain the strained political coalition on which his government is based – even though his coalition partners have impeded his efforts to gain control over the mining sector.[fn]Crisis Group telephone interviews, Congolese politicians, diplomats and UN staff, April and May 2020. See also Elliott O’Carroll, “DRC: marriages of convenience rarely last a lifetime”, Africa Practice, 24 February 2020; and “RDC: ce que Joseph Kabila et Félix Tshisekedi se sont dit”, Jeune Afrique, 23 April 2020.Hide Footnote  This lack of progress presents a particularly worrying prospect for Haut-Katanga and Lualaba provinces, where protesters blame poor living conditions on migrant Kasai workers, feeding ethnic tensions.[fn]“Insécurité à Lubumbashi: des jeunes s’en prennent aux ‘Kasaïens’”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  Still, even though Minister of Mines Willy Kitobo Samsoni, a Kabila ally, has legal responsibility for implementing the mining code, Tshisekedi could use his political clout to steer the government toward carrying out the law for the benefit of the nation’s two million artisanal miners.

First, the government could push for enforcement of the code’s requirement that industrial mining companies contribute 0.3 percent of revenue to local development funds – a step that might help address communities’ frustration with companies’ lack of investment in local development to date. Although his allies do not control the ministry of mines, Tshisekedi could insist that the ministry formally investigate companies for failing to meet their social obligations. Public pressure of this nature may help create higher expectations for enforcement by the ministry and could also be a vehicle for naming and shaming companies that have thus far fallen short of compliance.[fn]Under the 2018 mining code, such an investigation is conducted by the Congolese Environmental Agency (Agence Congolaise de l’Environnement) in consultation with the local communities concerned. As such an investigation need not involve the prime minister, minister of mines or Gécamines, Tshisekedi would be less hampered in triggering such an investigation than he might otherwise be.Hide Footnote

As for helping secure better livelihoods for artisanal miners, the government should focus on its promise to establish new zones reserved for artisanal mining, protecting these areas from being closed and subsequently covered by commercial licences.

Here again, Tshisekedi needs cooperation from the minister of mines, but he could enlist the support of provincial governors and authorities at the head of decentralised territorial entities. Because the mining code contemplates that these figures will all be involved in the creation of artisanal zones, they have a ready-made springboard for lobbying the ministry of mines. They may also have the motivation to do so, as several (including, as noted, the provincial authorities in Lualaba) have already promised artisanal miners the creation of more such zones.

Although the space for new artisanal mining zones is arguably limited, given the density of industrial licences, the government can create them out of areas covered by a Gécamines or state-held exploration permit, or an industrial mining company can voluntarily relinquish a portion of its licence not viable for industrial operations. The key will be to identify zones that have sufficient ore deposits and to raise the up-front investment, perhaps working with private-sector consortia like Sicomines that have pledged to help create artisanal zones, to do the necessary groundworks by clearing overgrowth and topsoil and making the zone suitable for mining.[fn]Muyej, “Mot de son Excellence Monsieur Le Gouverneur à l’occasion du lancement du Projet social Cobalt pour le Développement”, op. cit.Hide Footnote

Once established, such mining zones should be protected from conversion into industrial mining licences. Closing an artisanal mining zone happens largely at the ministry of mines’ discretion, and Tshisekedi can again mobilise artisanal miners’ political allies against such action.

It is crucial that Tshisekedi and his government simultaneously promote ways for artisanal miners to work legally on land covered by industrial licences through subcontracting.

Finally, although new artisanal mining zones could draw artisanal miners and relieve encroachment on industrial mining sites, it is unlikely that they can be created at a scale sufficient to accommodate all, or even most of, Haut-Katanga and Lualaba’s existing artisanal miners. Therefore, it is crucial that Tshisekedi and his government simultaneously promote ways for artisanal miners to work legally on land covered by industrial licences through subcontracting. Here, as discussed, the 2018 law creates an opening for artisanal cooperatives to act as subcontractors, but the recent decree establishing the Entreprise Générale du Cobalt could undercut this by requiring the cooperatives to sell to the new entity.

While it is not clear how much leverage Tshisekedi might have to change the decree (which was issued by the prime minister), he could call on the ministry of mines to issue guidance to mitigate any negative impact. Such guidance might, for example, clarify that ore sold under subcontract to a mining company is exempt from the decree’s requirements, or provide for Entreprise Générale du Cobalt to function as a middleman in the subcontracting arrangements.

To start loosening the hold politicians and politically connected businessmen have on the artisanal mining sector – particularly those who own buying houses or land suitable for mining – the Tshisekedi government should seek to ensure that partners to such subcontracting arrangements are genuine cooperatives that will act on the miners’ behalf. Through the yet-to-be-established watchdog ARECOMS, the government should seek to ensure that these cooperatives are owned by artisanal miners, and not part of networks of politicians and businessmen that may exploit artisanal miners.[fn]“Interconnected Supply Chains”, op. cit.Hide Footnote

With neither ARECOMS nor Entreprise Générale du Cobalt yet stood up, Tshisekedi ought to do what he can to ensure that they are led by individuals seeking to advance the interests of artisanal miners and, more broadly, the Congolese people. To that end, he should work on ensuring their boards include individuals with technical expertise in the mining sector and who are committed to advancing the interests of artisanal miners. If Tshisekedi’s experience in trying to appoint new members of Gécamines’ senior leadership serves as precedent, achieving such appointments will involve substantial political arm wrestling with Kabila’s coalition.[fn]Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala, “RCD: pourquoi les nominations à la tête de la Gécamines et de la SNCC sont toujours bloquées”, Jeune Afrique, 17 June 2019; Tshiamala, “Albert Yuma, pris entre deux feux”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  Because these organisations are new, however, there are somewhat fewer vested interests to contend with and Tshisekedi might be more successful. He also should commit to making these organisations subject to regular audits and publicising their decisions.

B. Cooperation between Industrial and Artisanal Miners

The private sector can and should help DRC authorities meet the challenges related to artisanal mining.

The private sector can and should help DRC authorities meet the challenges related to artisanal mining. As noted, for industrial mining companies, encroachment by artisanal miners can be costly and difficult to prevent. Large open-pit operations, which contain huge mineral deposits, are highly attractive to artisanal miners, invite profiteering by local power holders and are at particular risk. As the TFM case study demonstrates, private security forces can prove insufficient to guard big open-pit mines, and when the army is called in, it may continue to allow artisanal miners access in exchange for payment. The unregulated presence of artisanal miners on industrial sites exposes companies throughout the supply chain to reputational risks. In 2019, for example, an accident killed 43 artisanal miners – reportedly including children – who were encroaching on a Congolese industrial site.[fn]“Death toll at DRC mine rises to 43”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  On behalf of victims’ families, a human rights organisation filed a high-profile lawsuit against two mining companies and several tech giants that allegedly used minerals from these sites in their supply chain.[fn]“Top tech firms sued over DRC cobalt mining deaths”, BBC, 16 December 2019.Hide Footnote

To regularise arrangements with artisanal miners – reducing the risk of both violence and terrible accidents like the 2019 incident – mining companies should take advantage of the 2018 mining code to contract with artisanal miner cooperatives to exploit deposits that they themselves cannot profitably mine, including both low-grade deposits and slag heaps. Such access should be conditional on artisanal miners upholding basic safety rules, environmental guidelines and child labour standards. Furthermore, companies should ensure that the cooperatives they subcontract to are acting in the interest of the constituent artisanal miners, not a local power holder.

There are precedents for such arrangements in the DRC. Indeed, there are five instances of an industrial mining company contracting an artisanal mining cooperative to work on land licensed to it in Haut-Katanga and Lualaba. An OECD paper reports that such arrangements generally lead to more oversight over miners’ working conditions, health and safety.[fn]“Interconnected Supply Chains”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  Whether they deliver better livelihoods to artisanal miners appears to depend on the cooperative representing the artisanal miners. Some seem genuinely to represent the miners’ interests, whereas others seem to be vehicles for the cooperatives’ leaders and organisers to extract irregular payments from the membership.[fn]“Interconnected Supply Chains”, op. cit.Hide Footnote  The Mongbwalu Gold Mine in Ituri province has set a good example. It allows partnered artisanal miners’ cooperatives access to low-grade deposits on its site, monitors them and buys their product at higher prices than the buying houses.[fn]“Congo gold mine innovates to solve illegal mining dilemma”, Reuters, 16 December 2016.Hide Footnote

Subcontracting to artisanal miners would come with some costs to industrial mining companies, as they would need to undertake due diligence to ensure that artisanal miners meet the minimum standards described above. Such arrangements may also invite additional scrutiny from mining industry watchdogs. Still, mining companies should weigh these costs against the risks presented by the status quo – including operations disrupted due to flaring violence, production losses and reputational risks that come with continued artisanal encroachment or large-scale expulsion of artisanal miners.

For similar reasons, industrial mining companies should contribute to the establishment of new artisanal mining zones. Companies could relinquish sections of areas for which they hold a licence but that cannot be viably mined for commercial purposes, or donate funds toward clearance of overgrowth and topsoil needed in new artisanal mining zones.

C. Revisiting Best Practices

Organisations setting and monitoring standards for mining companies, such as the OECD (which issues a publication called “Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas”) should revisit their guidance relating to cooperation between industrial and artisanal miners. Currently, these guidelines mainly present the downsides of mining company collaboration with artisanal miners, informed primarily by the legitimate concern that artisanal mining can fund armed groups.[fn]Fidel Bafilemba and Sasha Lezhnev, “Congo’s Conflict Gold: Bringing Gold into the Legal Trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, The Enough Project, April 2015.Hide Footnote  Although expert thinking has since widened to acknowledge the contribution of artisanal mining to livelihoods, watchdog groups still tend to highlight the importance of scrutiny or risk mitigation relating to potential armed group ties when advising investors in, and customers of, industrial mining companies.[fn]Reports such as “Mining Together: Large-Scale Mining Meets Artisanal Mining”, World Bank, March 2019, have helped move thinking forward, along with work by projects such as the Delve database. See “OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas: Third Edition”, OECD, 2016, pp. 20 and 22 for more on reasons for scrutiny of artisanal mining.Hide Footnote

Such cautions feature in corporate decision-making and in mining companies’ assessment of reputational risks. They may dissuade mining companies that want to be seen as exercising corporate social responsibility from entering into formal cooperation with artisanal miners.[fn]Experts on mining in the DRC highlight reputational risk as an important barrier to formalising cooperation between industrial and artisanal miners. Crisis Group interview, DRC mining expert, 21 January 2020.Hide Footnote  These concerns should therefore be balanced by guidance that recognises the importance of artisanal mining to local employment and development. In addition to the emphasis on due diligence, guidelines should name cooperation between artisanal and industrial miners as a best practice and a conflict mitigation strategy when conducted in accordance with the safeguards described above.[fn]As an example, the OECD Due Diligence Guidance referenced above does not mention such cooperation in the main document, merely in an appendix.Hide Footnote

VII. Conclusion

President Félix Tshisekedi, mining companies and civil society should work together to decrease tensions between industrial and artisanal miners in Lualaba and Haut-Katanga. Steps they could take include promoting creation of new artisanal zones with functional groundworks on viable land, and ensuring that miners have access to at least some low-yield deposits on company-owned land. They also include increasing private-sector compliance with the mining code’s new revenue contribution requirement so that artisanal miners and their families and neighbours can share more of the benefits of industrial mining. Removing obstacles impeding mining companies from entering contracts that could provide artisanal miners with both a source of work and a fair price for their work product also makes sense. Absent such steps, tensions will almost surely continue unabated, to the detriment of the miners, Tshisekedi’s agenda and the fragile stability of the DRC’s mining heartland.

Lubumbashi/Nairobi/New York/Brussels, 30 June 2020

Appendix A: World Cobalt and Copper Production and Reserves

1. Cobalt production in metric tonnes, 2018 Crisis Group / JL-C / KO / CB-G. Data source: USGS.
2. Cobalt reserves in metric tonnes, 2018 Crisis Group / JL-C / KO / CB-G. Data source: USGS.
3. Copper production in metric tonnes, 2018 Crisis Group / JL-C / KO / CB-G. Data source: USGS.
4. Copper reserves in metric tonnes, 2018 Crisis Group / JL-C / KO / CB-G. Data source: USGS.

Appendix B: Industrial Mining Sites and Violence in Lualaba and Haut-Katanga

1. Location of Lualaba and Haut-Katanga provinces Crisis Group / JL-C / KO / CB-G. Data sources: S&P, Ministry of Mines, CAMI, Natural Earth, ACLED, UCDP.
2. Industrial mining sites by type of commodity Crisis Group / JL-C / KO / CB-G. Data sources: S&P, Ministry of Mines, CAMI, Natural Earth, ACLED, UCDP.
3. Protests and violent events 1989-2018 Crisis Group / JL-C / KO / CB-G. Data sources: S&P, Ministry of Mines, CAMI, Natural Earth, ACLED, UCDP.

This graph portrays protests and violent events as defined by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED). ACLED defines event types as follows. “State vs. non-state conflict” is a battle between two armed groups, one of which is associated with the govern-ment (ie, classified by ACLED as “Military Forces of DRC”, “Police Forces of DRC” or “Government of DRC”) and one of which is not. “Government (or non-state) violence against civil-ians” is an instance of use of force against those unarmed and not engaged in political vio-lence by an armed group associated (or not) with the government. “Protests” are non-violent group public demonstrations. “State (or non-state) violence against unknown” is an instance of use of force by an armed group associated (or not) with the government against an un-known actor.

Protests and violent events 1989-2018 Crisis Group / JL-C / KO / CB-G. Data sources: S&P, Ministry of Mines, CAMI, Natural Earth, ACLED, UCDP.

Appendix C: Case Study of Mining Sites

Crisis Group / JL-C / CB-G. Data sources: S&P, CAMI, Natural Earth, WFP, OECD.

Appendix D: Industrial and Artisanal Mining in Lualaba and Haut-Katanga

1. Industrial mining sites Crisis Group / JL-C. Data source: S&P, IPIS, Natural Earth.
2. Artisanal mining sites Crisis Group / JL-C. Data source: S&P, IPIS, Natural Earth.

Appendix E: Protests and Violent Events around Copper Mines and Copper-Cobalt Mines

These graphs portray protests and violent events as defined by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED). ACLED defines “Protests” as non-violent group public demonstrations. “Govern- ment violence against civilians” is an instance of force against those unarmed and not engaged in political violence by an actor that ACLED classifies as “Military Forces of DRC”, “Police Forces of DRC” or “Gov- ernment of DRC”.

1. Protests and violent events near copper-cobalt mines by type Crisis Group / JL-C / CB-G. Data sources: S&P, ACLED, UCDP.
2. Protests and violent events near copper mines by type Crisis Group / JL-C / CB-G. Data sources: S&P, ACLED, UCDP.

Appendix F: Copper and Cobalt – World Price and DRC Exports

1. World price (1990 = 100) Crisis Group / JL-C / CB-G. Data sources: IMF, DRC Ministry of Mines, DRC Central Bank
2. DRC exports: percentage share of total, 2016 Crisis Group / JL-C / CB-G. Data sources: IMF, DRC Ministry of Mines, DRC Central Bank