Press release 004/2017

The Centre for the Defence of Human rights and Democracy (CDHD), a nongovernmental organisation working for the advancement of human rights in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is concerned about the degradation of the forest due to mining exploitation by the Tenke Fungurume Mining (TFM).

Following an investigation made throughout 2017 on the commitment of TFM with regards to the protection of the environment, CDHD has found a lack of progress in the restoration of the forest that has been degraded by mining activities. TFM is specialized in the extraction of copper and cobalt; overburden works such as works of removal of the top soil to enable access to minerals causes large-scale deforestation. However mining companies don’t take any reforestation action as required by existing legislations and corporate social responsibility.

In 2007 TFM pledged to comply with accepted international environmental standards including the Equator Principles and the Performance Standards of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). In addition, the European Investment Bank pledged to disburse $100 million to support TFM’s mining investment over 14 years. However CDHD’s investigation reveals that TFM has ignored basic norms regarding the restoration of the forest. In this regards, States officials have expressed their deep concern about the non-respect of environment norms by mining companies including TFM.

TFM occupies a 1437km² copper and cobalt zone which is the largest in the former province of Katanga. The mining zone is located in the Miombo ecosystem and contains up to 634 species of whom 475 plants[1]. To date, there is no clear information regarding deforestation and reforestation in the zone that TFM occupies. In addition, State officials do not ensure that TFM takes concrete actions for forest restoration.      

 Given the above, CDHD recommends

  1. Tenke Fungurume Mining, to:
  • Abide by the International Finance Corporation’s norms relating to the protection of the environment
  • Restore forest that are/were removed following mining overburden works
  • Regularly provide updates on the progress of forest restoration
  1. The Congolese government, to:
  • Follow-up on TFM forest restoration actions by making regular site visits
  • Enforce existing legislations on the protection the environment with regard to the exploitation of minerals
  1. The International Finance Corporation, to:
  • Thoroughly assess TFM’s corporate and social responsibility with regard to forest restoration
  1. European Investment Bank, to:
  • Call to account TFM and to request the company to abide by norms governing their funding partnership.

Lubumbashi, December 8th 2017


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[1] ADB, Tenke Fungurume’s ming project on the exploitation of copper and cobalt, a synopsis of the environment impact assessment