Reports emerging from Walikale, DRC pin Canada-registered miner Alphamin Bisie against operating outside its concession and encroaching into community forests.
Alphamin Bisie firm has been mining tin in Walikale for the past 10 years, however there are concerns that residents of the area have not been consulted by the company as required by DRC’s mining law.
The law requires Alphamin to develop a cahier de charges, an agreement between a concession holder and affected communities of Banamwesi and Motondo, that commits the company to social development projects.
This consultation would also allow an assessment of the environmental impacts of the mining project.
Alphamin has not fulfilled this requirement. Instead, the company has quietly prospected beyond its concession areas into adjoining forests, according to a civil society activist who asked to remain anonymous for his own safety.
“Helicopters had been seen,” he told local media. “The community, which was working to secure title to its land in the framework of the government’s community forest project, contacted the territory’s administrator. At the time, the company denied any occupation of the area,”
But, the activist told local media, it was later confirmed that the company has actually begun operating within the boundaries of community forests.
The forests belonging to Banamwesi and Motondo cover 13,300 and 23,100 hectares (33,000 and 57,200 acres) respectively.
Maps based on data collected by the two communities show the company encroaching into their forests at multiple points.
“This community was not consulted,” Fiston Misona, a leading member of civil society in Walikale, told local media.
“They continue to claim their rights, since the occupation has not respected the normal process.”
A report drawn up by civil society groups in 2017 notes that relations between Alphamin Bisie and the communities surrounding its concession in Walikale territory are likely to become strained if the company does not take their grievances into account.
The communities want direct discussions with Alphamin, and for the company to formally recognize that they are affected by its activities.