In a letter dated May 29, 2023, Mines Minister Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi ordered the suspension of ” all mining activities of Boss Mining for a period of 3 months, with the possibility of renewal of this measure “. The project in question was to produce an average of 21,600 tonnes of copper and 3,600 tonnes of cobalt hydroxide per year?
The mining industry both produces toxic waste and is responsible for the greatest number of socio-environmental conflicts worldwide. Minister N’Samba Kalambayi’s action is a powerful reminder that environmental issues are more than ever a priority for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
A number of questions arise: how will the environmental impact of this mining operation be assessed, and by whom? What were Boss Mining’s contractual obligations? An audit of the contracts, the regulations governing environmental and social impact studies, the determination of proven pollution (water, air and soil) and the quantification of the resulting damage will determine the possible basis for Boss Mining’s liability.
Cobalt is an essential element in the supply chain for the technological transition to electric vehicles. The majority of the world’s estimated cobalt reserves are located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is a case to be followed with the utmost attention.