BGR Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe

DR Congo – Strengthening of control in the mining sector of the DR Congo

Country / Region: DR Congo / Africa
Focal Point: Mineral Resources

Begin of project: June 1, 2013

End of project: December 31, 2017

Status of project: April 16, 2018

Implementing a Certification System for Mineral Resources in DRC


The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is richly endowed with mineral resources. It hosts a large number of mines and significant untapped resources of copper, cobalt, diamonds, gold and tantalum, among others. In some parts of the country, mining has been going on for more than a century.

In contrast, the Congolese population is among the poorest in the world and does not benefit from these mineral resources due to lack of state control, widespread corruption and governance challenges. Additionally, for the last 20 years, the illegal exploitation of some of the DRC’s mineral resources has been associated with civil war and conflict in the eastern DRC. The conflict has an estimated death toll of 5.4 million, making it the deadliest conflict since World War II.

The eastern DRC hosts significant resources in gold and the “3Ts”: tungsten (wolframite), tin (cassiterite) and tantalum (coltan) ores, all being essential for manufacturing portable electronic devices and other applications. Due to their linkage with conflict financing risks, the 3Ts and gold are also called “conflict minerals”.

3T minerals and gold in the eastern DRC are mainly produced through artisanal and small-scale mining. The informal character of artisanal mining and associated supply chains is a challenge for mineral traceability, good governance, and responsible mining practice. 

In 2006, a UN Group of Experts proposed setting up traceability schemes and later developed recommendations for supply chain due diligence to prevent funding conflict through revenues from mineral exploitation in the eastern DRC. Taking up this initiative, the German government launched several development cooperation projects to manage risks for illegal exploitation and trade of mineral resources in Eastern DRC and the Great Lakes region, and to improve living conditions for the population.


Since 2009, BGR has been a partner of the DRC’s Ministry of Mines to advise stakeholders on responsible mining practice and supply chain due diligence for “conflict minerals”.

The aim of the project is to improve the living conditions of the population of the mining areas through formalizing mineral supply chains, increasing government tax revenue, improved safety in the mines and increased local investment by mining cooperatives.

In its first phase (2009-2013), the project aimed at the development and implementation of a mineral certification system focused on gold and the 3Ts, integrating it into national legislation and applying the standards to a volunteer set of producers on first pilot sites in Eastern DRC. The national certification system is based on the CTC (Certified Trading Chains) model. The CTC model aims to provide assurance for smelters and downstream supply chain partners while also building the capacities of artisanal miners towards responsible mining practice.

Current results and outlook

BGR and the DRC Ministry of Mines created a certification working group composed of experts of the Congolese mining ministry. This working group oversees development and implementation of the DRC’s national mineral certification system. The certification scheme was piloted at 15 mine sites until now and is rolled out at a larger number of sites subsequently.

Ongoing project activities also include advanced training and capacity building for mining authorities (national Small Scale Mining Service SAESSCAM and the Provincial Division of Mines).

In the current phase of the project (2013-2017), the national certification system is expanded across Eastern DRC: 20 % of the mine sites accounting for 60 % of the production of 3Ts and gold shall be certified through governmental organizations and third party auditors.

The project involves four intervention levels:

  1. The first intervention level comprises BGR support to governmental institutions (CAMi, CEEC, Division des Mines and SAESSCAM) and the reinforcement of their knowledge and know-how in terms of certification.
  2. The second intervention level represents BGR support to the mining industry, especially industrial and semi-industrial mines that wish to encourage the development of good mining practices in DRC. They are organized in the FEC (Fédération des Entreprises du Congo).
  3. The third intervention level aims at formalizing and legalizing the artisanal miners, as their informal character is the main obstacle to development of an organized mining sector. The BGR supports the cooperatives with technical assistance and assists with the development of business plans.
  4. The fourth intervention level is BGR’s contribution to an improved dialogue between authorities, mining enterprises and civil society on a National and Regional Level.

Project-No.: 2008.2225.4

Project-ID: 2000

BGR Mineral Certification DR Congo (englisch)

Project contributions:


Ministry of Mines, DRC and its subordinated National and Provincial services


Dr. Thomas Pletsch
Phone: +49-(0)511-643-2828
Fax: +49-(0)511-643-53 3807

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