Mines of The Darkness

The Democratic Republic of Congo has fallen victim to rebels who use revenue from illegal mining to purchase arms and feed the conflict.

 Moreover, the government has established a repressive and corrupt military regime in mineral producing regions to protect their "national interests".

 Local populations rarely see any profits and are subjected to environmental damage and a systematic violation of human rights by both the rebel groups and the Congolese army itself.

These countries, rich in minerals such as Cobalt, Coltan, Cassiterite, Copper, or Gold, are often marred by corruption, authoritarian repression, militarization, and civil war. Rebel groups, government and mining companies exploit mineral resources, fuelling civil and interstate conflict as players vie for control over riches.

Global Witness reports accuse both the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) of being the largest ore traders of the country sending it illegally through a host of intermediaries to other neighbouring countries, mostly to Rwanda.

While these players reap millions of dollars a year, the mines workers put their lives at risk on a daily basis to extract precious metals in order to obtain meagre economic compensation. The images of this reportage were made in one of the many gold mines of South Kivu province, in war torn eastern Congo.