Presidency comes partially clean on fracking

The ‘conflict minerals’ campaign has been hugely influential, particularly in relation to the DRC. It has focussed attention on how the illicit trade in all sorts of minerals – such as coltan, cassiterite and tantalum – has fomented conflict and facilitated mass human rights violations. However, it has also helped to divert attention away from other mining-related abuses and from the reality that conflict minerals are everywhere – because everywhere you go, mining companies and their paid-up protectors in government are in conflict with local communities.

Sometimes despair seems to be the only response – despair that in 2013, a government can be pushing ahead with a massive plan to produce natural gas without telling the public. Despair that after all the rhetoric about transparency and accountability in the mining sector – a government has been granting concessions to vast tracts of land, including in world famous national parks, without bothering to inform, let along consult, local communities.

Botswana has been quietly handing out licences for natural gas production covering vast tracts of land including half of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Gold miners in eastern DRC no longer fear warlords but now they are exploited by a plague of corrupt government officials and security personnel.

Failure predicted by SARW conference on peace and mining

In its first ground breaking research report into artisanal gold mining in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) demonstrated how the industry had been transformed in recent years – moving from Conflict Gold to Criminal Gold.

Rwanda has nowhere left to hide - except behind increasingly strident but utterly transparent blustering. The latest UN report into the six-month old M23 rebellion in eastern DRC follows the trail of command from the rebels strongholds in North Kivu province across the border with Rwanda and up to the capital Kigali and through the doors of the Rwandan Defence Ministry and finally to the desk of the Defence Minister himself.

The Barometer takes stock of mining regulations in place at the end of 2015, the extent to which they are implemented, and features of supporting institutions.

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