Ambassador Mike Hammer met with Vice-Minister of Mines, Godard Motemona Gibolum, on July 12 to discuss U.S. government assistance to the mining sector and efforts to combat corruption. The Ambassador delivered two letters to Vice-Minister Motemona from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking; the first announced a $1 million increase for DOL’s existing COTECCO (Combatting Child Labor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Cobalt Industry) project, bringing total project funding to $3.5 million. The second letter announced DOL’s recently funded technical assistance project to trace child and forced labor in the DRC’s cobalt supply chain that will be implemented by ELEVATE Limited, a private research firm. U.S. financial assistance to the DRC’s mining sector now totals approximately $28 million across ten projects focused on good governance, responsible mineral supply chains, and investment promotion.
Ambassador Hammer also expressed support for USAID’s existing programming on Responsible Minerals Trade that validates tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold (3T+G) artisanal mine sites to reduce conflict, counter corruption, and mobilize domestic revenues through legitimate trade. He recommended that the DRC approve a Guidelines Manual for local mining royalty management developed under USAID’s Integrated Governance Activity, which works with mining companies and communities to improve local governments’ capacity to manage revenues and conduct participatory budgeting.
Throughout the meeting, Ambassador Hammer stressed the importance of good governance in the sector, including through the Department of State’s Energy Resource Governance Initiative (ERGI) that the DRC joined in September 2019. Ambassador Hammer told Vice-Minister Motemona, “Corruption continues to be a challenge to attracting U.S. investment.” The United States supports Minister of Mines Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi’s focus on “fighting fraud” as one of her five key policy pillars.
The Vice-Minister of Mines thanked Ambassador Hammer for U.S. financial and technical assistance. The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa and the Ministry of Mines agreed to continue to work together to encourage responsible and sustainable mining practices as part of the U.S.– DRC Privileged Partnership for Peace and Prosperity.