The American expression « Only the strongest survive, » makes sense concerning the entrepreneurial adventure in DR Congo. The business environment in general, the administrative delays, the political, cultural and social environment, the foreign trade policy all present factors that create significant challenges which Congolese entrepreneurs face while trying to expand their businesses in DR Congo.
The business climate is not very favorable in a sector plagued by politics, red tape, and so on. The Bisunzu Mining Company (SMB Sarl in acronym) also pays these costs. SMB Sarl, a legitimate Congolese firm based in North Kivu in the city of Goma, whose mining zone is located in Masisi territory, is being harassed by media outlets utilized by multinationals who are installed in the Congo, not to encourage Congolese entrepreneurship, but rather to combat and frustrate them on the international market so as to snatch market share. As a reminder, this company, being a major mining operator in the province, has since 2012 organized traceability in the Mining Perimeter 4731, granted in good and due form by the Congolese Government. SMB Sarl single handedly paid the traceability costs for the entire province of North Kivu and has enabled DR Congo to stand on the international scene as the leading producer of Coltan. The company’s statistics, reflected by the Center of Expertise for the Evaluation and Certification of Precious and Semi-Precious Mineral Substances (CEEC), prove that from 2005 to 2010, the North Kivu Province had never exported more than 20 T / per month; whereas SMB has now been able to export more than 100T / month. Front companies in the form of cooperatives represent these multinationals. Among these front companies is CDMC, a cooperative created in Katanga, which has become a processing entity in North and South Kivu. CDMC cries foul, alluding to a monopoly, because it wishes to restore things back in the vein / order of 2000 – 2010 where ores were smuggled and mostly stolen and recovered in neighboring countries by the sinister operators of John Crawley and Chris Huber. Consider, that this front buying counter is supported and financed by Mafioso John E Crawley and Chris Huber, two American-British and Swiss subjects, respectively, decided to torpedo by all means the smooth operation of the Bisunzu Mining Company. They rely on the ITSCI traceability system, which merely distributes mineral tags in SAKIMA mines: SAKIMA mine being a State company where all expatriate thieves converge in order to « legitimize » the origin of minerals they syphon from Congolese companies organized in North and South Kivu, including minerals belonging to SMB. Does the DRC need investors who bring neither heavy machinery nor legitimate equity to create real organized mines, or does it need charlatan investors who launder their money via the minerals produced by Congolese entrepreneurs? The monies returned on the pre-financing made by these multinationals is repatriated without having paid the 30% of income tax due to the public treasury as prescribed by the law. This artifice should rouse the Congolese government, which is being fleeced unknowingly. Although mining in the DRC is considered to be a geological scandal it should instead serve as a source of benefit to the Congolese population as afforded by article 58 of the DRC Constitution. An international traceability body lost a lucrative contract and decided in retaliation to launch a media campaign focused on defamation via reporting imaginary incident on the Masisi supply chain, including SMB Sarl’s Perimeter 4731 in order to tarnish that companies image. Where are the Ethics? Media outlets are expected to conduct field investigations even before the publication of their articles, as recommended in the Media Code of Conduct, which requires media outlets to be impartial and to verify the facts before they publish their articles. Disturbingly, this is not the case for news agencies 7of7 and SCOOPRDC.Net, who use Wooden Language and have the audacity to disseminate aberrations of facts on the Internet for small sums so as to fund the survival of their media outlets. These agencies disseminate unverified information lacking in analysis and are neither knowledgeable of the mining field nor are they well versed in the contents of official texts from the sector—namely, with regard to the Mining Code and other regulations—which stand as the gospel, so to speak, for mining operators and retailer vis-à-vis all possible cases that may arise from the mining sector. As an illustration, note that in their article published on February 16th 2019, the said news agencies insinuate that SMB Sarl is struggling to hold onto its monopoly due to increasing competition. Said sources are unaware that this responsible company is the legal holder of its mining concession, PE 4731, granted by the Congolese government and that this gives SMB Sarl the right to full enjoyment of its perimeter and grants SMB Sarl exclusivity, without amalgamation, over the production of ores extracted from its concession. Also, media agencies 7of7 and SCOOPRDC.Net do not know that SMB Sarl has already signed a formal contract with the BSP / Geotraceability system recognized by the Congolese Government, the ICGLR and the OECD. By the letter n ° 229 / SMB / GM-NK / 12/2018 from SMB Sarl’s Managing Director addressed to the National Minister of Mines (in our possession), informing him of the change of the traceability system on PE 4731, SMBs purpose was twofold: firstly, to continue the traceability of minerals of the above-mentioned perimeter so as to reassure its international buyers that SMB minerals are sourced with respect to human rights and are not tied to any armed groups; secondly, said letter purposed to assure the Congolese Government of SMBs reaffirmation of and unflagging attachment to systematic traceability and the exercise of due diligence in the mining sector. This measure is supported by the Congolese Government by the letter of the Secretary General of Mines No. 0257 / Bur.SG / Mines / IK.Y.YA / 012019 of February 13th 2019, in which he encourages the BSP / Geotraceability system to operate and in close collaboration with Mining Services. In addition, the Bisunzu Mining Company stands on the winning side of an investigation led by the CNLFM (National Commission for the Fight against Mining Fraud) where the Prosecutor General’s office, after investigation, incriminated CDMC (Star Dragon Ltd) for stealing minerals from SMB Sarl’s PE 4731 by using an fraudulent system organized to falsely claim that these stolen minerals ores are sourced out of SAKIMA mines concession. Mining law is clear that CDMC must pay between 500,000 to 1,000,000 dollars USD in fines, as affirmed by the office of Prosecutor General Goma in letter No. 019 / RMI / 1092 / PG / TM / MAK / PL / 2018 of the January 9, 2019. A British article recently wrote in the African Confidential that John Crawley and Chris Huber started to buy minerals at a price of 10-20% per kilogram of tantalum higher than that of their rivals and people are wondering how they can engage in this behavior if not to escalation unfair competition so as to control the market and exacerbate tensions in Masisi. North and South Kivu provinces know Chris Huber well, who benefited from the RCD rebel war and was very closely tied to the illegal arms dealer in the region, Russian Viktor Bout, who is currently in prison in the U.S. for having sold weapons to terrorists. Is it possible that Chris Huber and John Crawley use the dirty money of this Russian? The Central Bank of Congo should conduct investigations so that one day, the Congo does not find itself undercut by sanctions for having accepted the flow of money laundering by these two expatriates. The Civil Society of South Kivu Province demanded in its letter to the Minister of Mines that the traceability costs required by iTSCI be lowered so as to allow Congolese Mining Operators to work instead of favoring international traders who invest nothing and are encouraged by ITSCI to collect the minerals of artisanal miners. In the same 7of7 and SCOOPRDC.Net article mentioned above, these agencies pronounce slanderous judgments on the person of Mr. Ben MWANGACHUCHU, Managing Director of SMB Sarl, defaming his reputation on the pretext that he was sentenced to 3 years of penal servitude by the Goma Peace Court. It should be noted that this judgment was never executed since it was successfully appealed due to the fact that the judgment was rendered in total violation of the rights of the defense. It therefore appears that these agencies did not investigate this file. These news agencies whose reputations are tarnished, work in collusion with the processing entity CDMC who source minerals from the SAKIMA PE 76 whose productivity is not considerable because of the almost nonexistent mining activities by diggers on this perimeter. The Congolese government should encourage Congolese mining entrepreneurs: by accompanying them in every step of the life of their companies; by lobbying on an international scale so as to attract potential buyers to consume Congo’s minerals; by protecting the mining sector which is the driving force of the country’s economy; and by sufficiently enforcing practices and regulations in the field of media which effect the country’s image both internally and externally. Karl Siriwayo, Mining Expert.
Karl Siriwayo, Mining Expert