New Congo scheme targets conflict mineral exports

Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:31pm GMT
 

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo's government said it will block exports of tin ore, gold, coltan and wolframite unless traders can prove the minerals come from mines that are certified by the state as conflict-free.

The move, the latest in a series of initiatives to try and cut the link between minerals and conflict, will be rolled out over the next three months, Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu said on Tuesday.

A slew of legislative and regularity initiatives, including the U.S. Dodd-Frank financial oversight law, have started to have an impact on Congo's mines, many of which have long been unregulated and fought over by pro- and anti-government armed groups.

Kabwelulu said Congo's mines will be mapped and certified on a regular basis and that exporters of the four minerals, which are widely used in the electronics industry, will then have secure documents showing their shipments are clean.

"All minerals that are exported without these documents will be seized, and the exporters will be (viewed as) smugglers," Kabwelulu told journalists in Kinshasa.

Uncertainty over existing schemes targeting conflict minerals has slashed exports from the eastern Kivu provinces, and Kabwelulu warned that traders may face further disruptions while the scheme is put in place.

A worker displays gold rings crafted in South Africa in a file photo.  REUTERS/Juda Ngwenya
 
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