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Updated: worsening instability of DRC increases concerns about critical minerals

UPDATE: The official election results will not come until January 15, but allegedly a chaotic day of voting and the possibility of a disputed outbreak arouse fears of major riots in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Defective polling machines, missing voter lists and at least three violent deaths occurred on Dec. 30, Thomson Reuters reported. Rationalized by the Ebola epidemic in the northeast and violence in the western city, some 1.25 million citizens have postponed the possibility of voting by March, a few months after the new president takes office.

The turmoil could make it easier for the government to impose voting, Globe and Mail said. "Any controversial outcome can lead to the recurrence of violence that followed the 2006 and 2011 elections and a wider security breach, especially along Congo's borders with Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, where dozens of armed militias are active."

More to come.

by Greg Klein December 28, 2018

Another delay in the already late elections can only exacerbate the plight of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the western countries that are distant from danger, the conflict also emphasizes the uncertain nature of the critical minerals necessary for modern society.

The worsening instability of the DRC increases concerns about critical minerals

(Map: US Central Intelligence Agency)

Rich in copper, gold and diamonds, as well as critical metals, including cobalt, tin, tantalum and niobium, the country usually chooses governments through coup, rebellion or fraud. Current President Joseph Kabila ruled unconvincingly since December 2016, when his mandate ended. He delayed elections late on December 23, and then pushed him back a week, citing the destruction of ballots in a fire at the repository. On December 26, the government announced that voting in the northeast region would be postponed until March.

An additional delay caused violent protests in a month that have already experienced over one hundred deaths in ethnic wars, as well as fighting between police and protesters.

The government has blamed its latest delay in the Ebola outbreak in the northeastern region, the second worst phenomenon in history, the tenth of the DRC since 1976, and the second this year in the country. The previous epidemic, which killed dozens in the western central province of Equator, officially ended in July. The confidence in the pronunciation given for the last postponement of the vote was not supported by the fact that the Ministry of Health on August 1 officially acknowledged the current epidemic.

Responsible for hundreds of deaths so far, this epidemic occurs in conditions of violence targeting aid workers, as well as locals. Like other parts of the country, the region has dozens of military groups fighting the government's control forces, and each other over ethnic rivalries and natural resources. Natural resources can be mined, often by forced labor, in order to finance more bloodshed.

In 2017, DRC provided around 58% of world cobalt, 34.5% tin and 28.5% tantalum, according to reports from the US Geological Survey. Both the critical and conflicting metal, DRC tantalum, is a particularly disturbing example of the often unknown origin of its supply. Neighboring Rwanda, another source of conflicting mineral minerals, provided 30% of the global tantalum supply in 2017.

Katanga's failure to uncover the risks associated with nature and the extent of his reliance on Gertler's associates is unacceptable. Investors can not be given anything less than accurate and true disclosures.-Jeff Kheho,
director of execution,
Ontario Securities Commission

Some of the major companies working in the DRC have failed to rise above the country's endemic problems. In mid-December, the Gencore subsidiary, Katanga Running, TSX: Cat and its officers agreed to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission in Ontario for payment, penalties and charges totaling $ 36.25 million for a number of offenses between 2012 and 2017.

OSC said that Katanga seriously overestimated the copper and stock production, and also failed to disclose the material risk of corruption to the DRC, including "the nature and extent of Katanga's addiction to individuals and entities associated with Dan Gertler, the close relationship of Gertler with Joseph Kabila, the DRC and accusations of possible participation of Gertler in corrupt activities in the DRC. "

As a member of the prominent Israeli family of diamond traders, Gertler is considered a mediator between Kabila and mining companies working in the DRC. Kabila and his family have interests in more than 80 companies and businesses, according to a study by the Congo research group in New York in 2017 and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.

More to come.

This article was posted by Greg Klein – Resource Clips on Monday, December 31, 2018 at 9:03 am.

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