NGO warns governments over purchase of DRCongo 'conflict minerals'

22nd July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Global Witness called Tuesday on governments, including those of Britain and Belgium, to take "rigorous measures" against companies buying minerals from suppliers trading with armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

KINSHASA - The London-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) said in a report that the governments concerned were, by failing to take such measures, compromising their own efforts to end the conflict that has raged in the east of the DRC for 12 years.

Global Witness accused Thailand Smelting and Refining Co (Thaisarco), a subsidiary of British-based broker Amalgamated Metal Corporation (AMC) Group, British company Afrimex and Belgium's Trademet of "fueling the conflict."

Many mining areas in eastern DRC which produce minerals including cassiterite, or tin ore, coltan and gold, are controlled by rebels and the national army, which exploit the local population, the NGO said. Cassiterite and coltan are used to make mobile phones, computers and other electronics.

The companies concerned were well aware that their suppliers dealt with armed groups, and governments should call on them to conduct due diligence, Global Witness said in its report.


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