$24 Trillion

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An estimated $24 trillion in untapped deposits of raw mineral ores lie beneath the Congo’s incredibly vast lands. This is the equivalent to the combined Gross Domestic Product of Europe and the United States *1. This figure accounts only for the reserves not currently being mined, not including the many billions already being mined across the country. DRC was the world’s 5th largest cooper producer in 2016 *2 and it is also the source of half of the world’s cobalt, and a major site for tantalum, tin, tungsten, gold, diamond and in the near future, even oil *3 .  All of these resources are clustered in the Katanga, Kivus, Maniema, and Orientale provinces, each plagued by decades of violence and instability perpetuated by negative foreign influence and severe underdevelopment.

Approximately 25 international mining companies are already operating in DRC (Congo) with many companies exploiting multi-billion dollar concessions. According to the International Monetary Funds (2015), the mining sector experienced a strong growth between 2002-2014, contributing to about a third on average to the overall 9.2 percent GDP growth in 2014. As a result, its share in the GDP has reached 19 percent in 2014, up from 6 percent in 2002 *5. The DRC now ranks among the top five African countries benefiting from the largest mineral rent as a percentage of their GDP *5. In 2009 Canadian First Quantum Minerals alone was the nation’s largest taxpayer and its social responsibility equated to 3% of the gross national income *6. But despite incentives on both sides, rampant corruption and negative influence from foreign governments and military’s, mining development has been limited *6. However, more recently, intervention from the United Nations and positive changes in both law and foreign policy in the United States and European Union have led to a turn around in the eastern Congo giving it the prospect of peace and economic prosperity.


  1. Ivan Šimonović, “Rich country, poor people”, Daily Monitor, 12 May 2012, available at http://www.monitor.co.ug/OpEd/Commentary/Rich-country–poor-people/-/689364/1409172/-/80x0ry/-/index.html
  2. Teresa Matich, “10 Top Copper-producing Countries”, Investing News, 17 May 2016, available at http://investingnews.com/daily/resource-investing/base-metals-investing/copper-investing/2013-top-10-copper-producing-countries/
  3. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), “Democratic Republic of Congo”, 2014, available at https://eiti.org/DRCongo
  4. EITI, “Democratic Republic of Congo 2012 EITI Report”, 2012, available at https://eiti.org/report/democratic-republic-congo/2012
  5. International Monetary Funds (IMF),” IMF Country Report No. 15/281 Democratic Republic Of The Congo Selected Issues”, 2015, available at https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2015/cr15281.pdf
  6. Mark Hay, “Untapped Mineral Wealth in the Congo & the Effects of International Regulations”, 20 June 2014, Asoko Insight, available at https://asokoinsight.com/news/untapped-mineral-wealth-congo-effects-international-regulations/
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