By Michael J. Kavanagh (Bloomberg) – Corrupt government and security officials in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo pose a greater threat to the country’s poor, small-scale gold miners than rebel groups, an advocacy group said. “Most of the artisanal and small-scale miners who were interviewed no longer fear homicidal militias,” Southern Africa Resource Watch, based in Johannesburg, said in a report on November 15.The 50-page document is based on six months of research that began last November, it said. Miners are confronted daily by “hordes of corrupt government officials, functionaries, and law-enforcement or security personnel, who all wrest illegal taxes and fees from the miners — in addition to straight bribes and extortions — without delivering any meaningful services in return,” the group said. Armed groups and some members of Congo’s army have long supported their rebellions through the mineral trade, according to Congo’s Mines Ministry.
While Canada’s Banro Corp. opened the country’s first new, commercial gold mine in more than 50 years in October 2011, the ministry estimates that about 80 percent of Congo’s gold exports are smuggled.
The link to the report: http://gold.sarwatch.org/reports/introduction