In response to the Enough Project’s conflict minerals rankings of jewelry companies, the Washington Post published an article critical of Enough’s study and the efficacy of Section 1502. The article also points out the timing of the report – “just in time for the holidays”.
One of the people quoted in the piece, Kambale Musavuli (a Congolese activist) highlighted out a few flaws in the limited scope of Section 1502 :
It is silent on environmental degradation, has nothing to say on the lopsided mining contracts that have left the Congolese people impoverished and dependent. It does nothing to address matters of resource sovereignty. It only calls for the clean functioning of a fundamentally flawed and unequal extractive process that has been en force for the past 125 years.
The author is also critical of industrial mining as a solution, quoting another source that accuses mining companies of ” closed-door agreements over mining rights”.
Near the end of the piece, the author does make a particularly salient comment:
As long as Congo lacks a government able to translate the country’s mineral and gold wealth into prosperity for its people by the taxing and regulation of multinational “legal” mining, all gold has the potential to be conflict gold in the region. Artisanal mining and smuggling are a symptom of state failure and a total lack of resource sovereignty.
In other words, the real issue is one of a strong and credible cohesive government that can effectively address mining. We agree, but would even go one step further – before the state can effectively regulate any activity, it must first address the historic and cultural foundations of its own discord.