The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has a long history of mining activities. However, environmental and socio-economic problems associated with abandoned mines as well as activities including Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) remain very concerning issues throughout the country. In this paper, we review abandoned mines, Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM), environmental and human impact assessment, conflict-minerals, and perspectives for future researches on mining activities in DRC, by selecting 26 significant and relevant peer-reviewed papers.
With the recent mining boom in DRC, the issue of social and environmental impacts of abandoned mines and ASM has become a matter of concern for Congolese people. This actual development of several mining projects has driven the development of regulation, monitoring and impact assessment, and scientific publications of these activities. However, the findings from multiple studies regarding the impacts of abandoned mines and artisanal and small-scale mining on the environment and human health across the country has not yet been sufficiently brought together in a reliable way.
Focusing on health, social and environmental issues, this mini-review aims to increase awareness of negative impacts of mining operations and promote further collaborative between citizens, mining companies, government institutions and other stakeholders with the hope to reduce negative impacts associated with minerals and metals mining and to extend the benefits to the surrounding Congolese communities. The overarching objective of this paper is to characterize the existing studies in the field of the impact assessment of abandoned mines and ASM on public health and environment with a view to stimulate research, guide development of policies and implementation of appropriate interventions. This report draws from material published and available in the public domain over the past years. It also explores the response of the state and the mining companies to these issues, exploring responses such as regulatory changes and implementations of existing legislation.
According to the results, additional studies that examine the relationship between minerals mining, bioremediation processes, training and dialogue aspects and the associated adverse environmental and health outcomes are needed to more adequately characterize the impact of mining activities on health and environment, in order to increase formalization of artisanal and small-scale mining sector while strengthening their social and environmental responsibility, and promoting sustainable mining practice standards that improve people lives and respect the environment in DRC.
Otamonga, J. P., & Poté, J. W. (2020). Abandoned mines and artisanal and small-scale mining in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): Survey and agenda for future research. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 208, 106394.