“Faced with a gun

In a new report and webmap, IPIS presents its updated data on armed conflict and armed interference in eastern DRC’s artisanal mining sector. Building on extensive data, gathered over the last ten years, IPIS assesses the impact of responsible sourcing initiatives in DRC, designed to address armed interference in mineral supply chains. The report illustrates that responsible sourcing efforts have indeed improved the personal security of groups of artisanal miners in several provinces. However, these are relatively fragile gains and the underlying problems remain unchanged. IPIS also establishes that most of the armed conflicts appear to be unrelated to mining activities. Armed interference in artisanal mining often rather concerns illegal ‘protection rackets’, while armed confrontations largely take place elsewhere and for other stakes. Nevertheless, these protection rackets do contribute to the overall insecurity in eastern DRC and further stigmatizes the region to be an impossible area to conduct ethically responsible business. IPIS’ data on roadblocks illustrates that artisanal mining is only one of the many sources of financing for conflict actors in eastern DRC. Furthermore, the research on roadblocks demonstrates that armed actors do not need to have direct control over mining sites to benefit from the artisanal mining sector. IPIS notes a consistent pattern whereby the army consistently erects roadblocks some distance away from the mines.

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