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Rampant Illegal Chinese Mining and Logging in Eastern DRC Drives Poverty and Empowers Ruling Elites, Says New Report

Artisanal miners pan for gold in the Luhihi gold mine, 50 km from the town of Bukavu, capital of South Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on November 6, 2021. Guerchom NDEBO / AFP

Illegal Chinese mining and timber companies are running rampant in the DRC’s eastern province of South Kivu, fueling corruption that empowers ruling elites and impoverished local communities, according to a scathing new report by two researchers at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) in Paris.

The problems in South Kivu gained notoriety last summer when Governor Théo Ngwabidje Kasi ordered six Chinese companies to halt operations in response to growing tensions with the local community. Residents in the area complained bitterly that these six companies along with other Chinese firms operating there destroy the local environment and pay off authorities to cover up their illegal activities.

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