Z-Space : Transcript of David Barouski's 10/19/08 Presentation for Congo Week in Chicago, IL.


Members of the Diaspora,
am especially pleased and humbled to share in this special event with
all of you. I would also like to welcome everyone in the Diaspora
community here tonight that does not agree with and/or appreciate my
views. The truth is, as a muzungu, I always feel a bit uneasy
talking to Africans about your home countries. Therefore, please
understand that I am not here to lecture you about Africa. Rather, I am
here only to share what I have learned, and I hope that, in turn, you
will afford me the honor of learning from you.

Fellow Students,

want to sincerely thank all of you for taking time out of your busy
weekend to attend this important event. About two and a half years ago,
I attended an event very similar to this one. I was at Smith College in
Massachusetts listening to a panel of speakers talk about the situation
in Chad and Darfur. I have seen first-hand the care and compassion that
students have towards the suffering of Africans, and I respectfully
hope that you will not limit your interest in the Congo to this
singular event. Collectively and individually, all of you can make a
difference to help bring lasting peace to the Congo, and the Great
Lakes Region as a whole.

am here tonight to share with you what I have learned about the
cassiterite ore trade in the Congo, particularly in the North Kivu
Province. Essentially, I am going to expand on what we have just seen
in the video, which gave us a harrowing look at the human costs of the
current practices and conditions involved in the trade. Seeing the
reality visually on film is much more effective than any verbal
description I can generate. Given this fact, my presentation tonight
will focus instead on the specifics of the trade. I will discuss the
various actors involved in the trade, and how their roles have changed
over time. I will show how the cassiterite trade is directly linked to
warring factions in the Congo and how it financially sustains their

I begin though, I must state that this presentation was created with
the presumption of speaking to an audience that possesses some
background knowledge of the ongoing crisis, and a working geographic
knowledge of the Congo. Therefore, I must apologize in advance to all
of you who are relatively new to this subject matter. What this means
in practice is that I will not spend much time providing background
details on the larger armed groups and most individual actors. For
those of you who are familiar with my work, you know what to expect
from this presentation. For the rest of you, I apologize in advance if
my approach is not to your liking, and I sincerely hope that I do not
lose anyone in the details and acronyms along the way. I also apologize
for any mispronunciations I may commit henceforth.

us begin with two obvious but important questions: What is cassiterite
ore and why is it desirable? Its value comes from the fact that it
yields tin after smelting.  In 2004, new environmental laws were
enacted in Japan and the European Union (E.U.) that forced all
lead-based solder to be replaced with tin as soon as possible, raising
its market demand considerably. Solder is used extensively in the
electronics industry to connect wiring components to circuit boards.
 According to a December 2007 report by Finnwatch, the global solder
market accounts for nearly half for the world's tin consumption, and
70% of the world's solder is sold to the electronics industry. I will
expand on this point later. Cassiterite also has applications in the
automotive industry and can be used as a coating on metal to prevent

growth in China's booming industrial sector also contributed to a
greater market demand for tin. This demand was further augmented by
other Asian countries with fast-growing industrial sectors like
Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia.  Japan also significantly
contributed to world demand for cassiterite. As mentioned earlier,
Japan enacted environmental laws that increased their demand for tin as
a replacement for lead solder. This demand was in addition to the
growing needs of their massive electronics industry and automotive
production sector. 

Congo is important to the world market because it contains roughly a
third of the world's cassiterite ore reserves and produces about 4% of
the world's tin supply. Cassiterite was first discovered in the Kivus
back in 1910, and by the 1940s, Congo was the world's 2nd
largest producer. However, infrastructure, including the state-owned
mining entities, progressively decayed during the Mobutu era, and
cassiterite production dropped off sharply as a result. This coincided
with a drop in global demand for tin. The tin trade eventually
rebounded in 2004, in large part due to the aforementioned
environmental laws. To give you an idea of the officially recorded
export statistics during the tin market's revival, the North Kivu
Division of Mines office in Goma registered exports of 938 tons in
2003, 4,672 tons in 2004, 3,599 tons in 2005, and 2,904 tons in
2006. Again, keep in mind this is only the registered exports, and does
not include smuggled ore, or ore handled directly by the Congolese
military. United Nations' investigators estimate that 70% of the
cassiterite mined in the Congo is smuggled out of the country. To my
knowledge, Rwanda has not publicly released official data on its
cassiterite exports since 2004. In that year, Rwanda exported 1,800
tons more cassiterite than they actually produced, demonstrating
large-scale smuggling occurred.

Cassiterite is most often found in the same general mining areas as
coltan. Coltan was the most coveted ore in the Congo from 1998 until
2001. The most valuable cassiterite deposits in the Congo are found in
Walikale Territory.  They account for 70% of North Kivu's cassiterite
production. The most coveted deposit in Walikale Territory is located
in Bisie or, as some researchers denote it, the Mpama/Bisie mine.  In
addition to cassiterite, Bisie also contains smaller deposits of
diamonds, uranium, gold, cobalt, and bauxite (or aluminum) ore.  It is
a long trip from Walikale town into the Kakalo Forest of the Wassa Groupement,
where the mine is located. It usually takes a day or two to get there
by foot, especially during rainy season if the weather is bad.   There
are two villages along the way, called Manoré and Marojé where miners,
porters, and traders can stop and purchase supplies.

shown in the video, cassiterite mining in the Kivu provinces is not
industrial. In Bisie, there are roughly 167 individual mining areas
comprised of alluvial and open pit surface mining sites along with
underground hard rock sites. At least 29 of these pits are controlled
by elements of the Congolese National Army, or FARDC. Each pit can be
worked for about three months.  Around 1,800 people work in some
capacity at the mining sites. Roughly 1,100 of them are artisanal
miners, meaning that they labor by hand with pickaxes and shovels. At
least 300 of these miners are children that are small enough to fit
into the narrow tunnels. According to a report by the Initiative for
Central Africa, 20% were either orphans or had no idea where their
families were. The pits and their corresponding tunnels are very
dangerous. In February 2007, the Walikale Territorial Director and the
Director of North Kivu's Provincial Division of Mines officially
declared the site unsafe.   

digging up the ore in Bisie, traders meet the artisanal miners in the
village of Mubi or Ndjingala to appraise each dig's value. After
appraisal, the ore is purchased by comptoirs that are licensed to buy from artisanal miners. Until only recently, most of the comptoirs operating in Mubi did not have a purchasing license.  A comptoir
is a privately-owned business that buys the raw ore extracted from the
mines before it is processed. However, it is not uncommon for the comptoir operators to purify the ore on site through crushing and washing techniques designed to remove impurities.

From Mubi and Ndjingala, wealthy traders and comptoir
owners have the ore flown out of Walikale Territory by hiring small
charter planes to fly it back to Goma or Kigali.  Gomair, Doren Air
Africa Limited, Goma Express, and Kivu Air are the most commonly
contracted air cargo freight companies. The road near Kilambo village
is the only viable airstrip in Walikale Territory besides Nzovu. The
Kilambo airstrip was originally a road connecting Mubi, Walikale town,
and Kisangani, but it degraded so much during the years Mobutu was
president that vehicles can no longer travel safely on it. The road is
tarred over, but has numerous gaping potholes. As a result, only small
charter or cargo planes can take off and land there effectively.  It
was used as a makeshift airstrip during the 2nd Congo War to deploy
soldiers deep into Walikale Territory. In recent years, there have been
several plane crashes on the road. Rebuilding this road is a priority
of President Joseph Kabila's administration to facilitate better access
to the mines and eventually connect Kisangani to Goma.

I am going to reconstruct the supply chain, while occasionally
diverging to illustrate some important points. Once the planes offload
the ore in Goma, it may be further purified at a comptoir's central headquarters before export. Each comptoir generally specializes in one or two specific ores. Once the purified ore is ready for export, a transporter is hired by the comptoir
to move the shipment by land. Kivu Transport and Handling (TMK),
Transami, SDV Agretraf, and Jambo Safari are the most often hired
transporting companies. They drive the ore to a port, either Mombasa,
Kenya, or Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Mombasa is the preferred
destination, primarily because it is the better developed of the two
ports.  Most drivers get there by travelling through Uganda via the
Bunagana-Kasese-Kabale route. 

mid-2007, General Laurent Nkunda's National Congress of the Defense of
the People (CNDP) has controlled the Bunagana border post. General
Nkunda's younger brother was even seen in the area during February
2008. The CNDP uses it as part of a supply route to smuggle in weapons,
supplies, and military reinforcements from Rwanda.  According to
sources in the region, the External Intelligence Office of Rwanda's
Department of Military Intelligence (DMI) has established an effective
surveillance network along this supply route. It is comprised of
several Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) soldiers dressed in civilian
clothes positioned in Bunagana, Kisoro, and Cyanika. By communicating
to each other with shortwave radios, they are able to coordinate the
movement of RDF soldiers, arms, and supplies back and forth across the
border at Bunagana without being seen by military observers. The same
sources also claim General Nkunda's main arms caches are held in two of
Rwanda's largest military bases: Gabiro (in the Mutura region of
Northeast Rwanda) and Kanombe. 

The CNDP also recruits fighters around Bunagana. On May 21st, the Ugandan People's Defense Force's 2nd
Division arrested Lieutenant John Nganizi of the CNDP and six Ugandan
nationals working with him. Lieutenant Nganizi was recruiting young and
unemployed youth for General Nkunda in Uganda's Mbarara District by
promising them employment in the Congo and money upfront. Since they
took control of Bunagana, the CNDP and Rwandan soldiers have had
several gunfights with Ugandan army soldiers in Ugandan territory over
their use of the border post. The last reported sighting I received of
General Nkunda was in Uganda's Kabale District.

controlling the Bunagana border post, the CNDP is able to tax exporters
on North Kivu's busiest transportation route. Rwanda potentially
benefits from this arrangement as well because travelers have few
viable options if they do not want to deal with the CNDP. Ore
transporters can take the Ishasha-Kabale route, but the Democratic
Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda/ Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi
(FDLR-FOCA) and the FARDC periodically clash in this area. They can
also travel up north to Vitshumbi, but then they have to take their
chances with the Mai-Mai, FDLR/FOCA, and government soldiers who
inhabit the area. The other option is to go to Rwanda through Goma
unhindered. However, travelling through Uganda is much cheaper than
travelling through Rwanda. Vehicles transporting exports are stopped at
Magerwa in Kigali and heavily taxed, which raises money for the Rwandan
state coffers.

at the ports, cargo shipping companies are hired to deliver the ore
overseas. Interfreight Panalpina is the company most often contracted
for this purpose. C. Steinweg, a Rotterdam-based shipping company that
also offers ore purifying and packaging services, reportedly ships a
small amount of cassiterite from Congo to Hong Kong. C. Steinweg was
among the companies named in the 2001 UN Panel of Experts Report.
 Meanwhile, smugglers who do not have export and/or mining licenses may
purchase or dig for cassiterite and then sneak across the Congo-Rwandan
border on foot under the cover of darkness. Comptoir owners
may even choose to take this route. They save money by avoiding Congo's
steep customs taxes.  However, smuggling means less money for the
national and provincial coffers from tax and customs revenue. Money
that, at least in theory, could be spent on development. Another way to
smuggle ore includes bribing customs officials to deliberately register
a smaller amount of product so as to reduce progressive customs taxes
charged according to weight. Smugglers may choose to work closely with
local military officials in order to procure a way around formal
taxation, and/or they may hide ore in shipments of other commodities
that are taxed less, so long as the weight discrepancies are overlooked.

Now, I would like to look in depth at the comptoirs in Goma. Senator Edouard Hizi Mwangachuchu, owns a comptoir
called MHI.  In 1996, Mr. Mwangachuchu was a political refugee in the
United States after leaving the country following the invasion by
Laurent Kabila's Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of
Congo-Zaire (AFDL-CZ) and the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), along with
some Burundians and Angolans.  When he returned to the Congo in 1998,
he founded MHI with his business partner; an American physician from
Baltimore named Robert Sussman.  They were interested in mineral
deposits in Masisi Territory. There are smaller cassiterite deposits
around Luwowo in Masisi Territory, but the infrastructure is so poor,
it can only be worked by artisanal miners at the present time. The
Mumba/Bibatama mine, also located in Masisi Territory near Rubaya, has
coltan, wolframite (tungsten) and cassiterite deposits. They purchased
land-use rights on Mataba Hill from the Rally for Congolese Democracy's
(RCD) Mining Department, bypassing the approval of the Congolese
Ministry of Mining, the recognized state entity in charge of mining
licenses.  They then proceeded to hire armed guards to protect their

CNDP soldiers reportedly inhabit the mining site. 600 to 900 artisanal
miners and forced laborers work the area under their watch. They are
taxed by the CNDP soldiers, or are forced to work for the soldiers
themselves. The soldiers sell the ore to friendly comptoirs
in Goma or have it smuggled across the border to Rwanda in order to
make money for their commanding officers. Smuggled ore can be
repackaged and put inside drums in Kigali, and then exported as if the
point of origin was Rwanda. Rwanda has its own comptoirs that
can purchase and export the ore. There is also Alfred H. Knight, an
international firm named in past UN Reports on natural resource
exploitation in the Congo. The company offers professional ore
certification and repackaging services that can be shipped to one of
Alfred Knight's numerous satellite locations all over the world.

Rwandan town of Gisenyi, just across the border from Goma, has a
cassiterite smelting plant operated by Metal Processing Association
(MPA). MPA was founded by Mr. Bruce Stride and Mr. Brian Christophers,
both South African natives. MPA is associated with Mr. Tribert Rujugiro,
a major financial backer of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)
party. Mr. Rujugiro is a business partner of another South African, Mr.
Nick Watson, who is an executive manager of MPA. Just this morning, Mr.
Rujugiro was prevented from leaving London because of a South African
arrest warrant charging him with tax evasion. MPA made a deal for 37
mining concessions with the Congolese state-owned mining firm SAKIMA
SARL in 2004. However, MPA's tin smelter reportedly had to shut down in
April 2006, due to a lack of consistent electricity supply. 

In Goma, MPA has a subsidiary called Metal Processing Congo (MPC). MPC is one of the largest volume cassiterite purchasing comptoirs
in North Kivu. A 2005 phonebook from the Democratic Republic of the
Congo lists Metal Processing Congo's manager as Mr. Ivo
Blauwers. According to some accounts, MPA was the parent company of
Mining Processing Congo, a small cassiterite buyer and exporter in
Goma. A 2005 phonebook for the Democratic Republic of the Congo listed
Mining Processing Congo SPRL's manager as Mr. Norbert Friedrich.  

There are several other comptoirs
in Goma. The second largest exporter of cassiterite is Sodexmines,
which is currently run by a Lebanese businessman from Kinshasa named
Basem, who owns a British passport. Sources claim Basem took over the comptoir in 2005. Prior to 2005, he ran a diamond comptoir
in Kasai. Sodexmines is known to buy cassiterite on site in Bisie. The
company is currently part of the Kirchner Group, which owns the BIAC
and the Western Union franchise in Congo. 

is the largest cassiterite exporter. It is run by a man named Antoine
Bizi, who is from Idjiwi Island. He has good ties with provincial
administrators and he has food supply contracts with the World Food
Programme. Munsad is another larger volume cassiterite exporter in
Goma.  Smaller comptoirs include Ets Panju and Bakulikira, which will be mentioned again later. Notably, the comptoirs
have an association called, in English, the Association of Mineral
Traders in North Kivu. Sources say its president, Mr. John Kanyoni
Nsana, a former member of parliament in the Transitional Government for
the RDC-Goma party, is a nephew of General Nkunda.

The comptoirs
export to overseas middlemen, also known as "clients," or
"brokers." They, in turn, sell to industrial consumers that make a
product, or part of a product that will then be shipped elsewhere for
integration into a finished product. Cassiterite ore is very rarely
processed by the middlemen. A few may process it onsite if they have
the means, but the vast majority outsource the processing to a third
party company, who smelts the cassiterite ore into
tin. Metallo-Chimique of Beerse, located in Belgium's Antwerp Province,
is the only major tin producer in Europe. However, most of the
middlemen outsource to Asia because, despite rising shipping costs, the
labor and materials costs for the processing are cheap, the exchange
rate remains relatively favorable, and there are no restrictions from
environmental laws in much of Asia. These factors make it the most
profitable option for the middlemen.

China, the world's largest tin producer, Ningxia, the Jiujian
Nonferrous Smelter, Liuzhou China Tin, Yunnan Tin, the Tanbre's
Smelter, and Yunnan Chengfeng smelters are the cassiterite processors
most often utilized. In Malaysia, there is the widely-used Malaysia
Smelting Corporation. In Thailand, Thaisarco, is the primary ore
processor. Notably, according to UN statistics, Thailand recorded more
cassiterite imports from the Congo in 2006 than any other country in
Asia. Thaisarco makes solder used by Microsoft and Samsung. I have
received reports that Singapore Tin Industries, a joint venture between
KJP International and Yunnan Tin Company, is increasingly popular as a
source for smelting since 2006. Even if this smelter receives
cassiterite from Congo, Singapore has more environmental restrictions
than its competitors, and some of the other costs are greater there as
well, so it is a less attractive option for the time being.

processing, the tin is shipped back to the middlemen. In Europe,
shipments usually arrive in Antwerp, Belgium or Rotterdam, Holland, and
then travel over land to their final destination. Companies like
Hollands-Veem in Rotterdam provide warehouse storage for ore shipments,
as well as shipping options into Europe's interior. Port authorities in
Rotterdam claim that Hollands-Veem is actually part of C. Steinweg,
which acts as a joint Belgian-Dutch company. In the United States, the
east coast harbors are utilized, and then the product is shipped by
truck to its destination. The middlemen companies, if they have the
onsite capabilities, may process the tin further. Either way, the
middlemen will sell the tin to companies who will use it to manufacture
a part or product, most often located on the same continent.

are a number of middlemen in Europe, some of which have onsite
processing capabilities. Outside of Asia, Belgium is the primary
importer of Congolese cassiterite. Sodexmines sells to SDE, located in
Brussels and directed by Mr. Edwin Raes. SDE is a subsidiary of the
U.S.-based Elwyn Blattner Group. Mr. Elwyn Blattner, who hails from
Bayonne, N.J, owns several businesses in the Congo through his firm,
African Holding Company of America. They include logging concessions,
transportation, and palm oil plantations. The products produced by
these businesses are also imported by SDE.

and Munsad supply cassiterite to Trademet, a company named in the 2001
UN Panel of Experts report on mineral smuggling in the Congo. Trademet
was created in 1989 by Mr. Freddy Muylaert with startup money from his
wealthy family.  It is headquartered in Grez-Doiceau, located in
Belgium's Walloon Brabant Province. A source in Congo states that Mr.
Muylaert has good relations all of the largest comptoirs in Goma, and he even personally visits Goma every once and a while.

transfers some of its ore to Metmar Trading, a South African company
that also buys directly from artisanal miners in South Kivu. The
majority of their ore is exported to MPA in Rwanda, the 2nd
largest recipient of cassiterite exports from Congo after Belgium. Back
in 2002, MPA had an import-export contract with Hochschild Partners
LLC, which is based in New York City and run by brothers Michael and
Peter Hochschild. They, in turn, transferred the ore to Arcelor S.A.,
which has merged with Mittal Steel (formerly known as ISCOR) to become
the world's largest steel producing company. In 2003, Arcelor Mittal's
trading subsidiary, Considar, the parent company of Hochschild
Partners, merged with Sogem, the trading arm of Umicore, Belgium's
mineral industry trading giant.  The new company was named Traxys and
is headquartered in Luxembourg, with satellite offices across
Europe. Peter Hochschild is the acting Executive Vice President of
Traxy and Michael Hochschild is the current Director of Business

was also named in the U.N. Panel of Experts Report mentioned earlier
and is another one of the notable middlemen purchasers of
cassiterite. Currently on Umicore's Board of Directors is Mr. Jonathan
Oppenheimer, of the well-known Oppenheimer family. His father, Mr.
Nicky Oppenheimer, is the Chairman of De Beers and a large shareholder
in Anglo-American. Anglo-American, founded by the Oppenheimer family,
is the largest gold mining company in the world and the majority
shareholder in De Beers. Also on Umicore's Board is Mr. Jean-Luc
Dehaene of the Flemish Christian Democrat party, today known as the
CD&V. He was the prime minister of Belgium from 1992-1999, a tenure
that covered part of the Rwandan War, the Rwandan Genocide, the 1st
Congo War, and the beginning of the 2nd Congo War.

the tin is not processed further by the middlemen, solder producers are
most often the end buyer. It is estimated that 60% of the tin purchased
by solder producers comes from large companies like the Asian smelters,
and 40% comes from middlemen companies. Taiwan's Foxconn provides a
representative example of an end-buyer company. Foxconn uses tin solder
to manufacture IPods, motherboards for Intel, and electronics
components for Sony, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Motorola, and their various
subsidiaries. Foxconn also produces a large portion of the circuit
boards used in Sony Ericsson's cell phones. Mass-production companies
like Foxconn may buy tin derived from cassiterite that originated in
the Congo, but they also buy large quantities of cassiterite
originating from China, Indonesia, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.

this point, I would like to provide a narrative of the conflict that
coincided with the cassiterite trade boom. Not coincidentally, the
initial increased demand for cassiterite ore coincided with the
beginning of General Laurent Nkunda's insurrection. On May 26, 2004,
Colonel Jules Mutebusi, a Tutsi officer who mutinied from the Congolese
army, led an attack on government forces in the city of Bukavu. Days
later, General Nkunda led a large group of mutineers and Rwandan Army
soldiers south to Bukavu. They claimed they were intervening to stop a
genocide against Banyamulenge civilians in Bukavu, but subsequent
investigations were unable to turn up any evidence that genocide took
place. General Nkunda occupied Bukavu for several days, drawing
Congolese army and UN military reinforcements to South
Kivu. Eventually, after a negotiating a deal, Colonel Mutebusi pulled
out and went to Rwanda while General Nkunda and a contingent of
soldiers withdrew to Minova, located on the border of North and South
Kivu. He threatened to return to Bukavu and attack, freezing the
military forces along the Minova front and in South Kivu. 

Colonel Mutebusi and about 315 soldiers staged an attack on Kamanyola,
located south of Bukavu. The UN Mission in Congo, known by the acronym
MONUC, sent reinforcements and pushed him back into Burundi, where he
travelled back north to Rwanda.  The attack successfully pulled some
MONUC and FARDC reinforcements further south. According to a UN report,
47 of Colonel Mutebusi's men crossed back into Congo with Colonel
Bisogo and another 200 went unaccounted for. The 47 who crossed back
into Congo were intercepted by FDLR-FOCA soldiers in South Kivu
carrying weapons, communications equipment, and logistical support
equipment. The unaccounted soldiers, including Colonel Bisogo,
eventually joined the "Moramvia Group," which is today said to be known
as the Federal Republican Forces.  Based in Kamombo and lead by Michael
Rukunda, they advocate for Minembwe to become a federal Congolese
territory, which was originally a goal of the RCD-Goma. This group
attacked the FARDC in January 2007, and after a prolonged battle, a
ceasefire agreement was reached. As of today, they have refused to
enter the Amani program.

to 2004, the government and UN forces were spread fairly thin and the
largest deployments were still in South Kivu.  Taking advantage of the
situation, General Nkunda and his allies attacked in North Kivu and
took control of Walikale Territory in September 2004. General Nkunda's
soldiers warned several of the comptoirs in Mubi at gunpoint not to buy ore from the FARDC, Mayi-Mayi, or FDLR/FOCA. 

When the fighting died down, General Obedi, an RCD-Goma sympathizer and the FARDC's Commander of the 8th Military Region at the time, held a meeting for all the comptoirs
in Goma. It was attended by representatives of MPC, Groupe Mesol,
Comtex, Divimines, Clanab, Munsad, and Sodexmines, who was reportedly
already buying ore from RCD-Goma. General Obedi tried to convince them
to buy from General Nkunda and RCD-Goma party members like Governor
Serufuli and the Makabuza brothers rather than government loyalists and
the Mayi-Mayi. Meanwhile, under the guard of General Nkunda's soldiers,
privately rented charter planes were flying into the Kilambo airstrip
to pick up cassiterite mined in Bisie and then delivering the ore to
Kigali. General Nkunda was spotted in Lubutu, located in the nearby
Maniema Province, where he was supervising the extraction of

after the battle for Walikale, a ceasefire was reached between General
Nkunda and the FARDC. One of the conditions was that the FARDC had to
withdraw from the Minova front. Once they pulled back, General Nkunda's
men seized control of the Numbi mine located south of Minova. Numbi is
primarily a coltan mine, but it also contains cassiterite and small
deposits of red garnet, wolframite, and tourmaline. During the 2nd
Congo War, the Rwandan Army used Hutu prisoners as slave labor in the
Numbi mine. With possession of these two mines, General Nkunda and his
allies could make ample profit to fund their insurrection and
personally enrich themselves if they so desired. 

mid-October 2004, General Nkunda lost control of Walikale for about two
weeks to FDLR/FOCA and Mayi-Mayi forces that launched a counter-attack.
 General Nkunda, along with reinforcements from the Rwandan Army,
reestablished control and set up barricades along all the main roads
from Walikale town so they could strictly control access to the mines
and extort money from artisanal miners and traders who travelled along
the roads. Rwandan helicopters were seen landing in the area directly
exchanging arms for cassiterite ore. By November, senior Rwandan Army
officers were deployed to the Kilambo airstrip in order to provide
security for cargo planes that were delivering arms to the Congo and
taking ore back to Kigali.

this point, it is important to provide an in-depth profile of a few of
the most important actors in Congo's cassiterite trade. One is Mr.
Modeste Makabuza, a Tutsi from Masisi Territory, and key financier of
the CNDP.  He was once the managing director and chairman of the board
for Société Minière du Kivus (SOMIKIVU).  Mr. Makabuza is
reportedly a relative of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, but it must be
stressed that no direct business ties between the two have ever been
conclusively demonstrated. Modeste is the brother of Mr. Alexis
Makabuza, a former member of parliament in the Transitional Government
and the former President of former North Kivu Governor Eugene
Serufuli's now defunct non-governmental organization (NGO) "All for
Peace and Development" (TPD), which was accused of illegal arms
distribution in direct violation of a U.N. arms embargo on the Congo.
 The TPD was accused by Global Witness of transporting and trading
coltan and cassiterite in Goma and Alexis was reportedly in charge of
this operation. Alexis also owns his own comptoir in Goma that exports cassiterite to Malaysia.

Modeste runs Jambo Safari, one of the largest transport companies in
North Kivu. Jambo Safari also offers tourism packages to remote
destinations, including until recently, gorilla safaris in Virunga
National Park offered through the Congo Institute for Nature
Conservation (ICCN). According to a U.N. report, when the 2nd Congo War
began in 1998, Mr. Makabuza used Jambo Safari to import oil from Kenya
and sell it in the Congo for profit.

Mr. Makabuza used to be a major shareholder in Air Navette, a cargo
airliner that flew to and from Goma, Bukavu, Kisangani, Gabadolite,
Kampala, Bunia, Gamena, and Kigali.  In the past, this company was
reportedly involved in transporting illegally-mined minerals to
Kigali. According to UN investigators, the company was hired several
times by Ugandan General Salim Saleh (Ugandan President Yoweri
Museveni's half-brother) and (then) Vice President Jean-Pierre
Bemba. Mr. Modeste also owns the Goma branch of the Kenyan private
security firm KK Securities. He is a shareholder in Supercell (a
telecommunications company) and he owns the Société Congolaise d'Assurances et de Rassurances
(SCAR), a large Congolese insurance company with branches in Bukavu and
Goma. Many of these individuals will appear later in our narrative.

late November 2004, wide-scale violence broke out again. General
Nkunda's men were reinforced by Rwandan soldiers and they initiated
attacks across North Kivu. However, FARDC reinforcements were quickly
airlifted in and after they joined forces with the Bahunde Mayi-Mayi
militias, they were able to recapture control of Walikale
Territory. General Gabriel Amisi, the FARDC's Ground Forces Commander
who once fought alongside General Nkunda in the 2nd Congo
War, cut a deal with the Mayi-Mayi to allow the cargo flights to Goma
to resume. In exchange, the Mayi-Mayi were allowed to share in the
profits. The deal cut out FDLR/FOCA, who previously had a
profit-sharing agreement with the FARDC in Walikale Territory. Without
a source of income, some of the FDLR/FOCA soldiers migrated to northern
Masisi Territory and Lubero Territory. FDLR/FOCA was not the only one
who was upset with General Amisi seizing de facto control of
Bisie. According to an internal company document I received from a
mining firm that used to operate in North Kivu, Modeste ordered a hit
on General Amisi and even fronted $15,000 for the job. However, a loyal
intelligence agent leaked the plot to General Amisi. Mr. Makabuza
reportedly found out that the plot was leaked and he fled to Rwanda
before any retaliatory action was taken against him.

2005, the Bandagula Association owned by Babuni Motokotoko, Fikiri
Mayani, and Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka received a mining permit from the North
Kivu Provincial Minister of Mines, Emmanuel Ndimubanze Ngoroba. In June
2005, Ramazani Kokoli, Moke Mabisi, Fikiri Mayani, Nuhombo Shemihiyo
and Ntabo Taberi Sheka created Bangandula Company SPRL and quickly sent
their representatives to Walikale Territory to get a mining contract
from the resident Bassa clan. The contract would allow them to send the
cassiterite extracted from Bisie to purchasing agents in Goma,
including MPC and Sodexmines, who are rivals.

After the contract was signed, the Bangandula Mining Group (hencefore
BMG) was formed on September 23, 2005, as a joint venture between
Bangandula Company SPRL, the Saphyr Society, run by Alexis Makabuza,
Mapatano, and 10 private investors, including Modeste Makabuza. Through
Saphyr, Alexis Makabuza became the primary shareholder and controller
of the company.  Shortly after its creation, BMG set up a comptoir
in Goma for purchasing and exporting cassiterite. SAKIMA (chaired by
Mr. Amisi Mudjanahery), with the support of the Minister of Finance and
the (then) RCD-Goma Minister of Economy, then signed a deal with
Bangandula for numerous concessions in Walikale Territory, bypassing
the Congolese Ministry of Mines.  After signing the deal, Alexis
Makabuza immediately set up barricades from Walikale town down to Hombo
and forced artisanal miners to pay mineral extraction 'taxes.' 

long after BMG set up the barricades, MPC and BMG entered a bitter
legal battle over the right to mine in Bisie. MPC had obtained an
exploration permit from the Ministry of Mines in Kinshasa on September
29th, 2006, while Bangandula had their lease agreement for
the concession from SAKIMA SARL.  MPC insisted that Bisie was not a
part of the concession that BMG was leasing.  Mr. Chantal Bashizi, the
director of the mining land register, agreed with MPC, but the local mwami (chief) refused to side with either company meaning that customary laws for land-usage rights were not enacted.

the height of the legal battle, Bangandula made a deal with the
territorial administrator of Walikale, Dieudonne Tshishiku Mutoka. In
exchange for 10% of the weekly profits, Administrator Mutoka would
ensure Bangandula's security, which essentially meant that MPC
representatives would be forcibly kept out of the area. The FARDC's
unincorporated 85th Brigade, which was deployed in Walikale in April
2006, was going to control access to the mining area. The 85th
Battalion is comprised of ex-Mayi-Mayi fighters formerly under the
command of Colonel Shé Kasikila, who fought against General Nkunda.
 However, while performing their "guard duties," the soldiers stole
large quantities of bauxite ore from other miners and intimidated rival
tradesmen in the area. They set up roadblocks, harassed traders in
transit to and from Bukavu, illegally taxed local artisanal miners,
raped women, and tortured the rape victims' respective husbands if they
resist. Seeing an opportunity to profit for themselves, they have also
force locals to mine for them. This occurred even after Administrator
Mutoka and Mr. Ndimubaze declared the area both unsafe and unsuitable
for mining. Colonel Samy Matumo, the commander of the 85th
Brigade, reportedly has his friends and brothers manage some of the
mine shafts in Bisie and they also act as his own personal tax
collectors at Bisie's exit points. 85th Battalion soldiers have even
fought amongst each other for total dominance over the mining area and
its illicit taxation system.  Colonel Matumo, denies all wrongdoing
despite its admittance by Colonel Delphin Kahimbi, (then) the Deputy
Commander of the 8th Military Region (North Kivu Province).  

Joseph Kabila and the FARDC's Chief of Staff have done nothing to
integrate these renegade soldiers into the FARDC, nor have they
seriously tried to stop the rampant human rights abuses.  The only
recorded disciplinary actions are the arrest of a single soldier from
the 85th Brigade for killing a civilian in Walikale town, and the
arrest of another 85th Brigade soldier on December 26, 2007, for shooting a man in the foot after he refused to hand over his valuables in Mubi.  

The dispute between BMG and MPC deteriorated to the point where an MPC
employee was severely wounded near the company's camp by soldiers of
the 85th
Brigade on October 29, 2006. Undaunted by the attack, MPC still wanted
to build industrial mining units in the area. However, this plan caused
concern with the artisanal miners, who were worried they would be
pushed out. Seizing on the opportunity for a political advantage within
the local community, 11 of Bangandula's shareholders, including Alexis
Makabuza, joined with 10 local landowners and founded COMIMPA (Cooperative Miniere Mpama de Bisiye). COMIMPA
claimed to represent the interests of the artisanal miners and, for
political effect, framed themselves as a locally-based entity up
against an international corporation looking to exploit the land. MPC
countered by aiding the foundation of a rival cooperative called COCABI
(Coopérative des Creuseurs Artisanaux de Bisie). However, COCABI was not initially very successful in attracting support.

MPC was eventually able to gain the edge they needed. On December 30,
2006, Benjamin Moore and Yves Van Winden signed a development pact on
behalf of MPC with Mwami Kiroba Mulengezi, who represented
the local chiefs. MPC agreed to pay $90 U.S. dollars to Walikale
Territory's coffers for every ton of cassiterite they bought. Since
they planned to industrialize the mining, the agreement included a
clause stipulating preferential employment for Walikale Territory
natives, and each grouppment, or chiefdom in
Walikale Territory would be allowed to have its own open pit for
artisanal mining. In addition, MPC was going to build each chief a new
house, and every chiefdom would receive a primary and
secondary school, two medical dispensaries, and a workshop with a
working power generator. Finally, MPC would sponsor one child's school
and transportation fees in each chiefdom.

The only problem was that the 85th
Brigade supported COMIMPA. MPC quickly realized they could not conduct
any business without appeasing both factions. As a compromise, MPC
signed a deal establishing COMIMPA as a middleman between the artisanal
miners and the comptoirs, giving the two a monopoly on
cassiterite production in Walikale Territory. In addition, MPC agreed
to buy 50% of COMIMPA's production outright. The artisanal miners made
less under the deal, but some of the money was supposed to go to the
state for development funds.

January 2007, MPC reinforced its claim through the creation of Kivu
Resources, a new firm registered offshore in Mauritus. Kivu Resources
is wholly owned by Virgin Islands-based Edin Mining, who's Chief
Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Alan Smith, was named the CEO of Kivu
Resources.  The investment groups behind Kivu Resources are Jonas
Capital, owned by famous mining magnate Sir Samuel Jonah, and
Ireland-based Coronation Capital, a subsidiary of Coronation Fund
Managers. They act as the primary shareholders. South Africa's Metmar
Limited, mentioned earlier, is also a shareholder. The company's
operations are managed by MPC's Bruce Stride and Brian Christophers is
the General Manager. Nick Watson, another MPC executive mentioned
earlier, is a non-executive director of Kivu Resources. MPC and MPA
were integrated as subsidiaries of Kivu Resources, as was Central
African Resources SPRL, a firm owned by South African and British
shareholders that is reportedly interested in building a tin smelter in
Kalima. Collectively at the time, Kivu Resources also held mining
concessions in South Kivu through a joint venture between Central
African Resources SPRL and SAKIMA; and in Gatumba, Bijyojya, and
Rugendabari through a joint venture between MPA and the Rwandan
Government. The company owns cassiterite processing facilities in
Gisenyi, Gatumba, and Goma.

February, as an interagency governmental delegation visited Walikale
Territory and condemned the ongoing situation, the provincial ministry
of mines instituted a ban on all mining in Walikale
Territory. Provincial officials also wanted the 85th Brigade
to report to FARDC barracks, but they knew doing so would create a war
power vacuum in their absence and a war would likely break out over
control of the mine. Fearful an enemy faction would seize control of
Bisie, they decided against the idea.  The ban did little good. Instead
of shipping directly from Kilambo, the ore was taken by road to the
Orientale Province or Maniema in South Kivu. From there, the ore was
flown back to Goma because the other provinces were not under any
mining ban. In March, the Minister of Mine Martin Kabwelulu warned the
Defense Minister that his men were still smuggling cassiterite ore out
of Walikale Territory in violation of the ban. Eventually, realizing
that it was woefully ineffective, officials gave up on the ban and
formally removed it in late July of 2007.  

June 2007, COMIMPA was formally installed in Bisie by Administrator
Mutoka. By this time though, COMIMPA was not popular amongst the
artisanal miners. Immediately after the ceremony, COMIMPA entered into
talks with COCABI to forge an agreement and be able to recast their
image to the artisanal miners. COMIMPA claimed it had severed its ties
to Alexis Makabuza.  A source who researched the area in depth refutes
this claim because they established via obtained invoices that Mr.
Makabuza continues to do business with COMIMPA. For his part, Mr.
Makabuza opened up a new cassiterite trading firm under the name Global
Mining Company.  In addition, BMG acquired mining rights on several
ex-SAKIMA concessions, which Mr. Makabuza is reportedly focusing his
time on. However, BMG's contract is under review by the Congolese

in June 2007, North Kivu's Governor Julien Paluku issued a decree that
intended to mainstream artisanal miner products into the official
market, however the agency tasked with this initiative, Saesscam, is
underfunded and its bureaucracy is virtually undeveloped.  The Director
of Goma's Airport, Thomas Oleko, successfully called for a ban on all
cargo flights in North Kivu due to unpaid taxes by the transport
companies. The cassiterite trade slowed down for a short time, but the
ban did not last long. Plans were announced to build a real runway in

In July 2007, there were rumors that FARDC military authorities were going to integrate the 85th Brigade into the FARDC and replace them with the 15th Mixed Brigade in Kisangani. Colonel Matumo was recalled to Goma and asked to report to General Vainqueur Mayala Kiama, then the commander of the 8th
Military Region. General Mayala told him that the actions of his men
were excessive. He dispatched several military intelligence agents
(ANR) under his direct command to Walikale in an effort to sort things
out. However, they only proceeded to recuperate tin for
themselves. Some of these agents still remain there today and there are
reports that they have prevented government officials from inspecting
Kilambo.   It is unclear at this time if General Mayala was involved in
the racket. Following the ANR's failure to restore order, military
justice officials were dispatched to Walikale Territory, but they did
not have any appreciable effect. In fact, the 85th Brigade,
on orders from higher up, began to take over Bisie and push out both
COMIMPA and MPC.  By September, Kivu Resources made a formal request to
Deputy Defense Minister Nelson Paluku to recall the 85th Brigade from Walikale Territory.

The call went unheeded. By December 2007, the 85th
Brigade was in full control. They set upcheckpoints at the entrance and
the exit of the trail connecting the villages of Ndjingala and Manoiré.
 They erected checkpoints between the mining sites and the villages of
Manoiré and Marojé. Territorial police, the ANR, representatives of the
local chiefs, and even members of the Department of Health all got in
on the racket and collaborated to man the checkpoints and collect

The money earned by the 85th
Brigade from taxation, extortion, and selling the cassiterite, which is
ultimately managed by a powerful Congolese politician and senior FARDC
official, either enriches certain members of the FARDC military
hierarchy and their backers, or it is used to buy weapons to distribute
to militias fighting against General Nkunda and the Rwandan Army
presence in Congo. The 85th Brigade has delivered arms to FDLR/FOCA soldiers in North Kivu, as has Colonel Rugayi's 14th
Battalion. Colonel Akilimali, who still works closely with his former
Mayi-Mayi soldiers, delivered arms to FDLR/FOCA in December 2007. The
arms are arriving in Congo from eastern bloc countries like Serbia,
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, and Ukraine after stopping over in an
African country.

August 2007, Shamika Congo Kalehe Sprl, a subsidiary of Montreal-based
Shamika Resources located in Goma, received exploration permits for
Walikale, Kalehe, Lubutu, Punia, and Idjiwi. The company advertises
itself as a strict adherent to ethical and sustainable business
practices. However, they were unable to begin exploration in Walikale
due to the continued presence of the 85th Brigade. The 85th
Brigade denied them access at every turn. In addition, Shamika is being
challenged by artisanal miners in Nyabibwe, where Shamika also claims
to own legal exploration rights. The workers are concerned their
livelihood will eventually be replaced by industrial mining, leaving
them without a source of income. Recently, the Ministry of Mines backed
the artisanal miners, claiming Shamika does not possess any rights to
mine on the land. Shamika's acting General Director, Mr. Robert
Nehungu, has stressed that the company is not mining, it is only
exploring. A final resolution is still in the works.

The 85th
Brigade and its collaborators continue to control access around Bisie
and the Kilambo airstrip to this day. They have demonstrated a fierce
willingness to retain their control over the area. In March 2008, the
Mayi-Mayi Kirikicho militia seized control of the northern half of
Hombo. The 85th Brigade quickly moved in and violently
forced them out. Meanwhile, employees of MPC were continually denied
access to the mining sites and they have been unable to carry out their
exploration activities as a result. Fed up with the government's
unwillingness to take action against the 85th Brigade, Kivu Resources recently suspended financing for the Bisie project until conditions improve. 

One cannot have a discussion about the cassiterite trade without addressing the role of FDLR/FOCA. While the armed wings of the Rally for Unity and Democracy-Urunana (Armée Nationale-Imboneza) and the Rassemblement du Peuple Rwanda (Army of the Rassemblement du Peuple Rwanda [ARPA]-Inkeragutabara),
have already largely and voluntarily disarmed, FDLR/FOCA still remain
in the bush. They control several areas rich in cassiterite. In North
Kivu, FDLR/FOCA mines from the areas around Niabiondo and Kibua. They
are also deployed across eastern Walikale Territory, where they are
left alone by the 85th Brigade and the FARDC. According to
the Goma-based Pole Institute, FDLR/FOCA is mining cassiterite in the
Bakano Sector of the Bakonjo Groupement.

also controls the area west of Kalehe and Kabare up to Hombo, which is
a major transit point between North and South Kivu. FDLR/FOCA soldiers
work alongside the FARDC in this area, while the 85th
Brigade has some elements deployed from Walikale town down to
Hombo. These armed factions all operate freely in and around Hombo,
taxing and harassing the travelers and traders. In Numbi, mentioned
earlier, the FARDC, FDLR/FOCA, and PARECO all currently exploit
cassiterite and other ore deposits. Four of the mining pits in Numbi
are legally owned by three Tutsi cattle-raisers and one Hutu
businessman, all of whom are reportedly financing the CNDP. Two of
these sites are confirmed cassiterite mines. Senator Mwangachuchu is
reportedly in charge of mining operations in Numbi, and he coordinates
the excavation of the cassiterite ore and its transport to the comptoirs. However, some of the comptoirs purchase ore on site similar to Mubi.

South Kivu, FDLR/FOCA also controls the road from Shabunda town to
Bukavu and has an extensive presence consisting of several
roadblocks. As described in a recent report by the International Peace
Information Service, they tax travelers and traders on the road,
particularly between Mzibira and Kigulube. Artisanal miners in Shabunda
Territory and Walungu Territory are taxed based on the size of their
dig. Some of the miners work collaboratively with FDLR/FOCA soldiers,
while others are forced to labor in the mines.  Some of the soldiers
prefer to dig themselves. In Shabunda Territory, particularly in
Matili, Tshonka, and Lulingu, the FARDC, and FDLR/FOCA work in the
mines together. The ore is flown by cargo plane from the airstrip in
Tshonka to Bukavu, where it is sold to comptoirs.  Amur, mentioned earlier, is one of the largest buyers in Bukavu. MPC also has a satellite comptoir
in Bukavu. FDLR/FOCA soldiers reportedly use some of the profits to buy
food, medicine and other supplies from the local markets.

is being done to stem the illicit trade of cassiterite? Last year, a
ban on Antonov aircraft restricted the options available for anyone
shipping ore by plane. However, it only hindered the smuggling networks
with fewer resources.  In late March 2008, the Provincial Minister of
Mines ordered all of the comptoirs located within 500 meters
of the Congo-Rwanda border to move inland. In addition, Governor Pakulu
had physical barriers installed on some of the open areas of the border
to deter smugglers who travel over land. Earlier this week, MONUC began
disarmament operations against local militias located in Walikale
Territory, while simultaneously sensitizing FDLR/FOCA soldiers in the
area to voluntarily disarm.

an international level, the Federal Government of Germany, led by the
Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, has an
ambitious plan to install a certification system for ores imported from
Congo and Rwanda. They are reportedly lobbying other G8 nations to
institute similar programs in their respective countries. In May of
2008, Republican Senator from Kansas Sam Brownback and Illinois' very
own Democratic Senator Dick Durban co-sponsored the "Conflict Coltan and Cassiterite Act,"
which would require the President of the United States to compile a
list of armed factions committing human rights abuses in the Congo and
prohibit the import of any coltan or cassiterite from the Congo if any
of the identified groups would benefit. They are proposing a
certification process as well, but the details of how they plan to
implement it are unknown to me at this time. However, the legislative
initiative is there. 

A recent UN Panel of Experts report stated that any comptoir
who knowingly purchases cassiterite from mines controlled by sanctioned
armed groups is violating the UN Arms Embargo on Congo. Global Witness
recently helped obtain an official censure from the British Government
against Afrimex, a comptoir owned by Mr. Ketan Kotecha that operates in North and South Kivu. Afrimex, which purchases cassiterite from
shipped its ore to Great Britain. The British Government ruled that
some of the ore purchased by Afrimex in the past was knowingly bought
from the RCD-Goma, which had no state authority to sell the ore. I can
say that this censure, though it did not involve any legally
enforceable sanctions, contributed to the closure of the comptoir's cassiterite exporting activities due to the public scrutiny it received.

is some support from the electronics companies for a certification
process, which would allow them to label their products as
"conflict-free." However, it is unknown what, if any steps they are
willing to take to hold their supply chains accountable. There are
other industry initiatives like the Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative (EITI), a publish-what-you-pay program designed to increase
transparency in the supply chain. However, these programs do not have
any legal enforcement capabilities. They are voluntary, and anyone who
violates the principles can only be subjected to public criticism. If
utilized properly, initiatives like this can be a useful tool because
multi-national firms are quite concerned about receiving negative
publicity and the effect it can have on their business. This is why so
many multinational corporations spend millions of dollars annually on
private public relations firms. 

report by DanWatch released in May 2008, showed conclusively that it is
possible to identify the entire supply chain from the cobalt extractors
in the Congo all the way to the mobile phone companies that are the
end-purchasers. Given that Nokia has recently announced it would like
to drastically expand its Congolese market, this study is even more
important. A comprehensive study of this kind conducted on the
cassiterite trade could prove to be very useful in stemming the
purchase of illicitly mined ore.

are various programs that encourage the recycling of certain
electronics, including mobile phones and computers. The theory is that
if enough participate in the programs and consumers stop simply buying
a new product to replace an old one, the demand for cassiterite can be
reduced on the supply chain. Unfortunately, sensitization programs are
scarce as are convenience facilities to drop off the unwanted
products. The United States Geological Survey estimated in 2006 that
less than 1% of used cell phones were recycled. I can personally
testify that some large retail stores actually charge you to have
electronics recycled. This acts as a deterrent, especially amongst
young consumers, and we can do better.

I would like to note some things to watch for in the future. Rwanda
recently signed an agreement with the Chinese to build a mobile phone
assembly plant. Naturally, to make the phones, they will need copper,
tantalum, cobalt, and tin. It is unclear at this time if China will
supply these raw materials from their industrial mining concessions in
the Congo, or if Rwanda will have to obtain it from traders. 

The comptoirs
in Goma are concerned because a new law was passed that will ban the
export of all raw cassiterite ore from North and South Kivu beginning
in January 2009. This is an initiative very similar to the restrictions
placed on copper and cobalt exports in the Katanga Province last year
by Governor Moise Katumbi Chapwe. The law is connected to a relicensing
program was instituted in April 2007, which nullified all old export
licenses and only granted new export licenses to comptoirs
that were processing their ore before export. A minimum tin content of
55% will be required in all future exports. This means that many of the
comptoirs will have to invest in processing equipment. Given
the difficulty obtaining a loan for such an investment, along with a
lack of infrastructure to deliver it in a timely fashion, many traders
are upset by the new law.   So far, 11 licenses have been reissued for
the comptoirs in Goma.

A large export tax hike recently instigated a prolonged strike by the comptoir
owners in Goma. Cooperation between the traders association and customs
officials has suffered as a result. This may lead to problems in the
future, and the higher taxes will encourage smuggling amongst some
members of the cassiterite trade community.  

a more abstract perspective, there is also a great deal of uncertainty
in the commodities market for tin. Tin market prices fell 25% in the
last 3rd Quarter. The worldwide financial crisis has made it
difficult for some companies in the industry to get the loans they need
to finance new projects and expand their existing ones. Commodities
investment has fallen dramatically, as tin purchasers at the London
Metal Exchange have less to spend. However, optimistic market watchers
believe that the supply constraints that still exist will buffer the
effect of the lower demand, and the lower prices will eventually
encourage investors to buy again as soon as market confidence returns.

closing, if there is ever a focus shift in the trade of so-called
"blood minerals" in the Congo, and cassiterite is to be replaced as
coltan was in late 2001, wolframite ore will be the most likely
candidate. I expect to see Rwanda's wolframite exports continue to
increase, while Germany and Austria will be the initial end buyers to
watch. However, please keep in mind that the major multinational
wolframite ore processors in these two countries also have branches in
North America.

you all most sincerely for your kind attention. If there are any
questions for Mr. Magala or myself, please feel free to ask them. Thank
you once again.

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