New Pact guide helps artisanal miners understand their rights and responsibilities under Congolese law
Within the framework of its formalization and governance project funded by AOC International (Europe) B.V. and MMD-Monitors & Displays Nederland B.V. (Philips Monitors), Pact has recently developed a booklet to explain and disseminate key legal aspects of the Congolese Mining Code and Regulation. With this new booklet, Pact provides a detailed overview of key articles that are relevant for artisanal and small-scale mining communities. This booklet aims to make sure that ASM miners know their rights and responsibilities.
Written for artisanal miners, the booklet was developed in cooperation with officials, state services and civil society from North Kivu Province with support from the North Kivu Minister of Mines. It covers all areas of ASM, from the conditions, requirements and limitations to work as an ASM miner or local trader, known locally as negociants, to mine minerals at mine sites and trading for export. The booklet also covers key risks such as mineral fraud and child labor while also promoting the role of women in ASM.
First launched in North Kivu’s capital, Goma, at the beginning of October, the project was later introduced to local stakeholders in the trading hub of Rubaya, in Masisi territory of North Kivu Province. The French-language booklets were distributed to all project participants. Posters were developed in local languages and displayed in various local offices and will be displayed at mine sites. In the coming months, Pact’s project team will continue organizing awareness-raising meetings with local mining communities in Masisi territory on the mining code and regulation.
A second component of the project focuses on improving occupational health and safety (OHS) at tin, tantalum and tungsten (the ‘3T’) mine sites, another key challenge that ASM miners face in their daily work and a key responsibility of miners under Congolese regulations. In partnership with a local mining cooperative, Pact has identified three mine sites where OHS training and interventions will be carried out. A training curriculum was developed and OHS committees were set up and trained at each site.
These committees, trained by Pact, will meet regularly and carry out joint visits to the sites to raise awareness of ASM miners on health and safety issues, identify all OHS risks at the site, develop mitigation measures and conduct ongoing monitoring. Committees include representatives from the cooperative, the Service for Assistance and Supervision of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining organization (SAEMAPE), the Mine Division, mining title holder, landowner, ITSCI officer and the mining police.
“This project is fundamental for ASM miners. Every accident or injury that is avoided at a mine site will prevent miners from losing working time, prevent financial loss and avoid social distress. The project also enhances the accountability of all mining stakeholders toward ensuring a safe working environment for all,” said Mickaël Daudin, deputy director of mining at Pact.
The training activities conducted so far have received strong support from local stakeholders. “The training allowed us to recognise our weaknesses about how activities are conducted at the mine. I ask all committee members to take on these challenges and start raising the awareness of miners about OHS,” said Johnny Mashagiro, SAEMAPE supervisor at a selected site and member of an OHS committee.
This project was designed in a way that it is sustainable, through a ‘train-the-trainer’ approach, so that mining stakeholders become the future trainers of their own peers. Simultaneously, the project can be easily scaled-up by expanding it to new mine sites and areas in the DRC and addressing other issues faced by ASM miners on the ground. “We are already hearing requests from other cooperatives who want to benefit from such capacity development. This is extremely positive. This project also offers an opportunity to widen the scope of our intervention to include environmental aspects and to look at the life after the mine. There is still much more to be done in that regard and we hope for more engagement from the downstream sector,” said Daudin.
“We are pleased to see that the collaboration we started with Pact is really contributing to the awareness-raising on the DRC Mining Code and Regulation. The mining booklet, with drawings to safeguard due diligence, is well appreciated by the miners and governmental agencies. The ‘train-the-trainer’ approach and training of OHS committees is essential to ensure long-lasting and sustainable results of project interventions,” said Stefan van Sabben, senior manager, CSR and Sustainability at AOC-MMD.