Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, Indigo Ellis says the DRC’s industrial miners are facing a ‘battle on all fronts’.
Ellis said artisanal miners shifting from cobalt to copper would mean that industrial miners will be facing more illegal invasions as the hunt for copper increases.
“Industrial copper miners’ risk exposure will rise,” as a result of frequent crackdowns by the DRC armed forces.
It was reported that high levels of unemployment were increasing the high rates of illegal miners.
“Aside from regulatory challenges and depressed cobalt prices, the crackdown on illegal mining at industrial mine sites will increasingly threaten their social licence to operate.”
While the DRC’s biggest copper mine, Chinese-owned Tenke Fungurume told employees that the company was operating at a loss.
As a result, mining security will be increased at China Molybdenum.
“June’s military deployments were just the beginning of a long battle between the army and illegal miners in Lualaba.”
The International Peace Information Service (IPIS) visited at least 623 DRC mine sites employing an estimated 115,500 artisanal miners between 2016 and 2018.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.