Development & Human Rights • 09 Oct 2008
Soul mining: The EIB’s role in the Tenke Fungurume Mine, DRCBack to overview
The Tenke project, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is one of the largest copper-cobalt deposits. The American company Freeport McMoRan (formerly Phelps Dodge) and Canada’s Tenke Mining together hold a majority stake in the project. On July 17, 2007, the EIB approved a EUR 100 million loan for the project.
The Tenke Fugurume Mining project is based on an unclear mining contract, with considerable doubts concerning corruption. This situation was already known when the EIB decided to grant the loan for this project. Moreover this project will not benefit the DRC. The mining has already started, and serious problems are already apparent, and it is above all the local populations that are suffering.
The EIB needs to urgently put in place guidelines and strict rules for the evaluation of transparency, the social and environmental impacts as well as its development value for projects that it will finance, in order to avoid embarrassing the European Union with such projects.
The legal basis of the Tenke project is a contract between the government and the mining consortium. It is one of 60 contracts signed during the war in DRC and under the transitional government which are currently under examination by an inter-ministerial commission in Kinshasa. The contracts are suspected of irregularities, including a lack of transparency, undeclared conflicts of interest, questionable payments, and the inclusion of terms that are highly disadvantageous to the DRC government.