Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo--(Newsfile Corp. - August 8, 2022) - The Collectif, a group of environmental and social campaigners in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has renewed calls for the country's prime minister to revoke a cobalt agreement with international commodity giant Trafigura.
The "Collectif des Mouvements Citoyens, Leaders des Organisations des Jeunes et Jeunes Femmes" is a co-operative that includes 33 civil society groups based in the DRC.
In a second letter to the prime minister sent in early August, the Collectif reiterated its calls for the contract to be rescinded, claiming that Trafigura's track record meant that the company could not comply with standards adopted for the deal.
In November 2020, Trafigura signed a contract with Entreprise Generale du Cobalt (EGC), a subsidiary of state-controlled mining company Gecamines, to market cobalt produced from artisanal mining zones. According to the terms of the deal, Trafigura will be able to purchase 50% of artisanal cobalt production in the country over a five-year period.
Trafigura will provide financing to fund the creation of artisanal mining zones, the installation of ore purchasing stations and costs related to the delivery of cobalt it receives.
In its most recent letter, the Collectif wrote: "When the EGC was launched in 2019, it was hailed as the solution to years of dangerous artisanal mining that served only to enrich unscrupulous multinational conglomerates and impoverish ordinary Congolese. We fear, however, that by choosing Trafigura as its commercial partner, the EGC will solve none of these problems. We fear that it will be business as usual."
The Collectif highlighted a number of past governance issues that have engulfed Trafigura and cast doubt on the company's ability to comply with rules incorporated into the EGC agreement.
Under the terms of the EGC deal, Trafigura is required to comply with Annex II of the OECD's Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas, which includes ethical guidelines.
The Collectif said that it lacked faith in Trafigura's ability to abide by the stipulations and said the EGC should rescind the agreement and choose a new partner.
The group wrote in its letter to the prime minister: "There is broad evidence to suggest Trafigura is unable to comply with the requirements stipulated in the Responsible Sourcing Standard. As such, now is the time to rescind the agreement and start afresh for the good of artisanal mining in the DRC, and for the good of the people of the DRC."
The "Collectif des Mouvements Citoyens, Leaders des Organisations des Jeunes et Jeunes Femmes" is a civil society movement comprising 33 local and national Congolese non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The movement has spearheaded a string of previous successful campaigns including lobbying the Congolese government to strip a controversial Middle Eastern health company of a contract to manage and operate a hospital in the city of Lubumbashi. The collective is also notable for leading efforts demanding the government improve its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and offer greater support to Congolese people. Among the groups that make up the movement are national civil society groups Telema and Nouvel Congo, as well as regional organisations such as Peuple Likozi and Peuple Likonzi.
Nathan Mavinga, coordinator
Collectif des Mouvements Citoyens, Leaders des Organisations des Jeunes et Jeunes Femmes
+243 825 556 292
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