With an estimated US $24 trillion worth of untapped mineral wealth, the DRC has the potential to become one of the richest countries in the world. The current reality, however, cannot be further from this vision. The DRC is currently ranked 176th out of 187 countries on the latest United Nations Human Development Index (2015), and more than 77% of its population lives below the poverty line (UNDP, 2016).

Although only approximately 20% of the DRC’s mineral production is undertaken by large commercial mining companies – in comparison to artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) – they account for the majority of mining revenue. Consequently, the government remains eager to stimulate and engage with the sector.

Since coming to power in 2001, President Joseph Kabila has managed to concentrate all political and economic power in his hands, and those of a few members of the political elite. It is consequently widely acknowledged that industrial mining in the DRC is predominantly controlled by this small group of political and business elite.

The industry’s main power players is the subject of a report on DRC’s mining sector that will be released in the Shadow Governance Store later this week. The report covers key sector trends, identifies who really controls the sector, and reviews what the future holds for this lucrative industry.

To conduct business within any of the DRC’s key economic sectors, in any significant capacity, it is vital to have the full co-operation of President Joseph Kabila and other influential politicians. Furthermore, Kabila has a policy of appointing trusted associates to key positions within Ministries so that he is able to maintain total control over their operation – and the Ministry of Mines is no exception.