Mining and conflict in the eastern DRC: An interactive story map

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Conflict-financing, armed interference, and sources of insecurity beyond the ‘conflict minerals’ paradigm

In this story map, IPIS presents its findings on the linkage between mining and conflict-financing in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Based on a survey conducted between 2021-2023 of 829 active mining sites (representing over 132,320 artisanal miners), IPIS’ research provides an updated assessment of mining, mineral supply chains and their link to insecurity in the eastern DRC.  

Published in a series of reports which can be found here, IPIS’ research critically revisited the ‘conflict minerals’ paradigm which has dominated understandings of linkages between mineral exploitation and armed conflict in the region thus far. In doing so, IPIS showed that mining in the eastern DRC is still heavily militarized, but that resource-related conflicts are complex and multidimensional. Various other issues interact with natural resources, including access to land, intercommunity tensions and their historical roots, failing DDR programs, and long-lasting governance issues. Critically, IPIS also analyzed a range of other issues and risks that are not directly linked to conflict (financing) in the eastern DRC but are related to structural forms of violence and may represent important security risks. These include the omnipresence of former rebels, the rush on DRC’s mineral resources, gender inequality (and other forms of discrimination), and governance issues, including the existence of ‘networks of predation.’ 

The story map overlays open data, figures and images from this research onto IPIS’ comprehensive map of mining sites across the eastern DRC. Thus it provides a resource through which to explore and understand, in a narrative form, the dynamics of insecurity currently impacting the mining sector in the eastern DRC.  

The information of this story-map is drawn from reports written by IPIS, alongside various partner organisations and researchers in the DRC. The project was made possible by the support of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Integrated Land and Resource Governance project (ILRG). The contents of this story map are the sole responsibility of IPIS and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States government.