Glencore: Environmental damage, human rights violations, tax dodging at Katanga Mining

project brief describtion Katanga Mining Ltd. operates a copper-cobalt project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a 75% subsidiary of Glencore, listed at the Toronto Stock Exchange and has changed its incorporation from Bermudas to the Yukon Territory in Canada in 2011 (which has the lowest corporate income tax rates in Canada).

Katanga Mining Ltd. holds a 75% stake in two joint ventures with Gécamines, a state-owned mining company in the DRC: Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) and DRC Copper and Cobalt Project (DCP).

NGOs allege the mining company of unfair concession contracts, tax evasion, exploitation of the “mines artisanales”, labour right abuses and environmental damages in DR Congo.


Tax evasion: Glencore and its subsidiary Katanga Mining in the DRC are accused to move their profit gained in the countries of production into tax havens. This practice inhibits the economic development in their host countries.

Labour rights abuses: Workers, many of them on short term contracts, are forced to operate under the poorest of conditions. They are not provided with any safety attire and therefore are exposed to the dustin the mines which leads to severe health problems. The BBC accused Glencore of indirectly receiving copper produced by child labour from the Tilwezembe copper mine. They also accused Glencore of dumping heavily polluted waste into the Luilu river.

Communities: Locals claims there is no communication with KML. They complain the damages of their houses due to explosions at the mines and the pollution of water resources.

Concession rights: Mining activities are based on contracts made shortly after the fall of Mobuto dictatorship. They were not revised when transferred to KML. Global Witness claims that the purchase of the Congolese mining companies involves opaque systems of off-shore firms, secret loans and loss-making deals (see also article by Bloomberg, 28.4.2014).

Further resources:

Brot für alle (Switzerland), Report from 2014: PR or progress? Glencore´s Corporate Responsibility in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Daily Mail (UK)

Ethos (Switzerland)

Multiwatch (Switzerland, de, fr)

Recht ohne Grenzen (Switzerland)