A day in the lives of DRC miner Joseph Kasette and his children consists of rising before dawn, digging in deep, dangerous pits and scraping the earth. After paying a stipend to a mafia organisation masquerading as a union and selling their bounty through corrupt middlemen and trading houses, the family will be fortunate to earn around $5 – $6 dollars a day. This will be enough for food but not much more.
Kasette is one of hundreds of thousands of artisanal miners in the Katanga province of the DRC who comprise the bulk of the mining sector in that country.
Although the DRC has given the green light to multinational mining companies to invest in the DRC, the benefits of extracting minerals and oil from this bountiful country have yet to reach those who toil the earth. Major companies mining in the DRC have been accused of indirectly profiting off child labour, environmental abuse and tax evasion.
In Poached Earth part 2 Special Assignment revisits Katanga and the artisanal mining sector. We follow the supply chain from the miners through the middlemen and trading houses and ask the inconvenient question: are billionaire mining companies complicit in poaching a country still recovering from crippling conflict, corruption and underdevelopment? And, what lessons can other mining countries learn from the DRC’s mining sector?
Watch “POACHED EARTH: PART 2” produced by Hazel Friedman. It will be broadcast on Special Assignment – aired Sundays on SABC 3 at 20:30PM. It is repeated on Mondays at 23:30PM.