Three mining cooperatives in South Kivu wrote the following letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission in early April, 2011, expressing their concerns about the catastrophic impact Dodd-Frank's conflict minerals provisions would have on their livelihoods. The original letter filed with the SEC can be found here.
We are the mining cooperatives corporation of the Eastern Congo, based in Bukavu town. So this is the sound of the three provinces “South Kivu, Maniema and North Kivu regarding the Dodd frank bill, the American law regarding the minerals of the DRCongo. We are representing more then 1.000.000 of traditional miners, now located in cooperatives throughout the 3 provinces and are serving more than 5.000.000 of people by their traditional employment, around the great lakes region.
Regarding the Dodd Frank bill, we have got time to think about it, study some deadlines and appreciated the law in the aim to protect the region people against conflict crimes.
Now the problem stays in the application process of this law. The law aims to help Congolese people to get their minerals certification by a right traceability. The artisan mining has been the employment of the 85% Congolese jobless from 30 years ago. This deal has been done in amateurism without any organization. So the traceability and certification are new lessons to teach to this people.
Of course, many efforts are on the way from September 2010, this operation started by the Congo government to stop the extraction and the trade of the minerals in the East of the DRC. This one was aiming to start the traceability process by the Congo government. It has been decided, to organize this sector in cooperatives for to get control on all minerals extracted from the Eastern of the country. To start the process took time to plan until the 01st march 2011, the government has signed different commitments with all the interested in the artisan mining like the Cooperatives representatives as we are, the traders, the government services, the governors of provinces and the Minister of mine, to commit every one on that we have to respect in the execution of the traceability, certification, ethic trade of the minerals, the environment protection and to improve the local development.
When we have been planning to execute our commitments, and have been thinking about to organize our FAIRMING PLAN, witch has been accepted by all of us; the same time the EICC has fixed the date of 1st April to stop the Congo minerals trading.
The ITRI, still in implementation to facilitate the certification; the ICGLR and BGR, are all invested in the same process, just to search for the feasibility of certification of the great lakes minerals.
Please, as the American law is invested in the great lakes region peace, would you like to follow his steps in holding up the people volunteer in the American law execution?
From now some cooperatives are ready to get minerals certification, in the Kalehe, Walungu, Walikale, Kabare, Shabunda, Punia and Kasese, territories. What may be the impact of the decision to stop the minerals trade on 1st April 2011?
The EICC has decided oppositely with the American law in the case it wants to stop directly this deal, what is the refuge of all the Congolese jobless, around 85 % of the population. Is it to make peace or to trouble the peace, when the life is stopped for a population? No job, no life. please imagine the consequences… when we are assisting and living the criminal situation by a minority handed in the forest; can you imagine what kind of criminality shall be everywhere by this jobless that is imposed to this people. Who shall be responsible of the tragic trouble we are going to live so soon? It is time to stop it please.
The traceability and certification is to approve this deal officially like a profession. What will be approved when every body has gone to stay home? It means that to stop the minerals trade is to stop all the process of the American law that has been appreciated by all the people like a salvation law. When you stop his process, you don’t share the same challenges, this is why we say that to stop the trading, you are in opposite of the Dodd frank bill.
We know really, we don’t have enough experience to perfect our vision. Otherwise, the EICC would help the great lake region traceability implementation in a record time by investing technology, man power and capital. The EICC has to know that we are partners and all of us have a mission to protect each other interests. The Lord who gave minerals to people without technology wanted to help each other.
The impact should be critical in case of to stop the minerals trading in the great lakes region, not only regarding the crimes but also by the environment protection and local development those have been focused in the Fairmining project. Who shall be able to stop hungry people to cut the trees in destroying environment, to hunt animals in the protected areas?
Sometime you can get wrong information and brings you to decide also wrongly. To help people, you have to know what exactly must meet his needs. To know it you must meet them in their place. Some people come to look for the information and they are not ready to meet people in their places, so they have to ask for some persons in the town, whenever this other have never been in the villages. The other case is the people who deliver information regarding his own interest. You can believe us, we are living together with our people, and we share our daily problems; no body shall deliver right information about us without us.” We have mind and minerals but we need technology and capital”.
Our present activities: We are organizing the artisan miners in cooperatives, which are the one authorized to extract artisan minerals. All other minerals that shall not be registered from the cooperative shall not be sold and shall be a fraud and must be on government penalties. Now we have already some cooperatives legally established.
We are planning traceability and certification process with ITRI, ICRGL, BGR, PAC, FAIRMINING.
We are contacting other partners to get interest to invest in this sector by bringing technology and capital.
Our points of view:
We ask for the EICC group to cancel the decision to stop the trading of DRC minerals from the 1st April, whenever all the necessary has been planned and the impact would be negative regarding the Dodd Frank bill aims. Another date would be negotiated regarding the feasibility of the process.
To help the region to execute his certification plan by holding up the process in the aim to be effective as soon as possible. This will be the peace solution in the region, when all the minerals shall be on entire control of the cooperatives and this amateurism should be an employment for so many people.
We ask for the SEC, a delay for their requirements to able also US companies to delay their decision to stop the Congo minerals trade, to enable the certification process implementation in the great lakes region.
We’ll be ready to deliver the right information to the US state department regarding the conflict areas and the company that should buy minerals from any wrong place. The people should keep his security control to protect his employment.
To whom , who fights for the great lakes region peace, we ask for them to remember that all the demobilized from the rebels bands, the loyal army, and all the young jobless are all searching survivals from this traditional mining. What is planning for them after this deal should be stopped? If nothing, think about most atrocity from them? Please stop the atrocity before to be in action, when it still possible.
To the World Bank, we ask for you, as your culture, to facilitate the implementation process by financing and supporting this project, to enable to be effective.
To who shall get this copy, to make large diffusion to all members of EICC, GeSI, and to all other it may concern.
Hoping to get a good understanding of all, We wish you a good day.
On behalf of The GECOMISKI
MUKULUMANYA W. Josue President Tel: +243 997 766 528
Emmanuel BYOMUNJIRA Executive Secretary Tel: +243 998 625 718
On behalf of the COMIMPA Noth Kivu Raymond MUHOMBO SHEMIHIYO President Tel: +243 997 747 055