Investigation sounds alarm bell on potential provide chain dangers in Congo’s nascent lithium sector

“Drawing again the curtain on the businesses and folks concerned on this new, probably globally vital lithium business, the investigation discovered concessions on and round DRC’s lithium deposits are or have been held by or concerned a small variety of individuals with shut enterprise relationships – together with a now-serving authorities official – with former President Kabila,” the file reads.

Investigation sounds alarm bell on potential supply chain risks in Congo’s nascent lithium sector

In line with the group, Cong Mao Huai, reported to be an adviser to former DRC president Joseph Kabila, is or was related to corporations with possession hyperlinks to 6 concessions investigated by World Witness. 

The NGO claims to have seen paperwork that seem to point out there have been long-standing enterprise hyperlinks between Cong and now-serving Minister Man Loando Mboyo. The report additionally cites knowledge from Congo Maintain Up – the most important leak of economic data from Africa thus far -, which helps the allegations of the enterprise hyperlinks between the 2.

“Our investigation exhibits that buyers have to suppose critically earlier than endorsing DRC’s lithium sector,” Paul Donowitz, head of pure useful resource governance campaigns at World Witness, mentioned in a media assertion. “Firm contracts, funds and helpful possession in key offers aren’t being totally disclosed, regardless of this being required by Congolese regulation. Corporations should additionally guarantee they totally respect the setting and communities within the mining areas.”

In Donowitz’s view, there’s a small window of alternative to handle the potential provide chain dangers in DRC’s lithium sector, earlier than manufacturing begins. 

“Corporations, buyers and governments – each of the DRC and firms’ dwelling states – should act now or the entire business dangers being severely undermined by governance dangers and harms to individuals and the planet,” the campaigner mentioned.

The report closes with quite a few suggestions, asking corporations financing, producing, utilizing or buying and selling DRC’s lithium to make sure that their investments and operations, in addition to these of their subsidiaries and suppliers, adhere to worldwide governance, environmental and human rights requirements, and all current Congolese legal guidelines, whichever are stronger.

It additionally asks these companies to take accountability to conduct, disclose and implement sturdy due diligence insurance policies and procedures to forestall, determine, mitigate and account for human rights, environmental and governance dangers of their operations, together with provide chains and enterprise relationships.

Lastly, it asks the Congolese authorities to make sure disclosure of all helpful house owners of mining corporations, mining contracts and public, project-level fee reporting for all of Congo’s mining contracts, according to Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative reporting requirements and greatest apply.

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