The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is estimated to hold over $24 trillion dollars in untapped mineral deposits. In addition to the world’s largest reserves of coltan, the DRC also has significant deposits of cobalt, copper, diamonds, gold, tin, and tantalum, as well as large-scale potential for oil and gas. Despite the abundance of natural resources, relatively little development and exploration in the country is currently being undertaken by mid and large scale mining groups. This reluctance to invest in exploration and mining operations in the DRC is primarily due to corruption, insufficient infrastructure, security difficulties, and a lack of transparency in the concession and leasing process.
Much of the historical and current mining in the country has been undertaken by smaller operations known as Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM). These small-scale mines are unregulated and are known to have high levels of child labor and workplace injury. Some of these operations also occur within protected areas, resulting in the destruction of sensitive environments.
Many ASM operations currently exist throughout the DRC for minerals such as coltan, gold, and diamonds. These ASM operations employ a significant portion of the DRC’s population – estimates range up to one fifth of the population, or 12.5 million people. Problems stemming from artisanal mining as it is occurring today include: disruption of families, poor working conditions, mining-related illnesses, environmental damage, exploitation by foreign nationals, child labor, prostitution and rape.
President Malanga’s comprehensive Open for Business plan embraces many fundamental changes that directly tackle the current issues surrounding the existing mining industry, and provides a stable and secure platform for responsible mining companies to invest in the future of the country. President Malanga believes that the future of the New Zaire rests in the hands of the returning Congolese diaspora through fostering productive relationships with ethical national and corporate partners. Hand in hand with these partners, President Malanga is laying the groundwork of his Open for Business plan. Core elements of this plan include:
President Malanga believes that the DRC needs to build a culture of domestic and international trust though integrity and leadership. This accountability culture will begin at the top with his leadership and will trickle down throughout society, creating an environment of responsibility that permeates all facets of Congolese life. The opportunity to invest in and help develop the tremendous human and mineral potential of the DRC is unparalleled in this century. The government of President Malanga will create a stable and long term opportunity for growth and prosperity for those countries and business partners who are ready to be Open for Business in the New Zaire.