In the lush hills of eastern DR Congo, where the trade in rare minerals has long fed unrest, miners complain that recent US rules against “conflict minerals” have bitten into their meagre income.
“Since they brought in this law, things did get worse,” said miner Ombeni Chikala in South Kivu, the troubled mineral-rich eastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo.
Introduced in 2010, section 1502 of Washington’s Dodd-Frank law — known to the self-employed miners as “Obama’s law” — requires companies listed on the US stock exchange to report any use of conflict minerals to regulators. However the US government this year said the law was under review.
Situated to the west of Lake Kivu, the green hills surrounding the small mining town of Numbi in South Kivu are dotted with mining sites — some just holes in the ground, others large hills reduced to quarries.
Chikala, 32, digs for cassiterite and coltan near Numbi in sites validated as free of conflict minerals by the United Nations and USAID.
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