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Kamoto Copper mine, Congo DR

The mine operated by Glencore and Gecamines was the site of the collapse of two galleries that killed 43 artisanal miners in June 2019. Companies decline responsibility while social and environmental impacts leave local communities impoverished


Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) is one of the world's largest copper and cobalt producers with a mining and processing facility located in the western end of the Katanga Copperbelt. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kamoto Copper mine, Congo DR
Country:Congo, Dem. Rep.
State or province:Katanga
Location of conflict:Mining site
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Specific commodities:Copper
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Kamoto Copper Company is at the production stage. The mining type is open pit and underground. The two commodities extracted are both copper and cobalt. The mining methods include: truck & shovel /loader, transverse stoping, longitudinal retreat, room-and-pillar, backfill, hydraulic backfill, hydraulic mining. The mine life as of January 2020 is approximately 20 years. The average life-of-mine cobalt production plan is of 30 000 tonnes per annum.

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Project area:1950
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:80 000
Start of the conflict:06/2013
Company names or state enterprises:Kamoto Copper Company
Glencore Public Limited Company from Switzerland
Gecamines from Congo, Dem. Rep.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Amnesty International -
Bread for All -
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups mobilizing:Artisanal miners
Informal workers
Fisher people
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Genetic contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactslung diseases,
coughs and breathing problems from dust containing heavy metals and
cobalt particles from the mines.
serious diseases
and breathing problems, including asthma, impaired lung function and
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:KCC activity is still undergoing little to no environmental mitigation. The affected area is still suffering from poverty, lack of steady income.
Glencore's last public due diligence report on KCC published in 2020 lacks of transparency and accuracy on the social and environmental impact of the mining activities taking place in the affected area.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

[1]Kamoto Copper Company S.A. Public Due Diligence Report October 2020.
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[2] Reducing the health risks of the copper, rare earth and cobalt industries - A transition to a low-carbon economy.

Dr. Mike Holland EMRC and Imperial College London, 2019, OECD
[click to view]

[5] Comparative analysis of case studies for mining sites worldwide - OekoRess II Working Report on environmental hazards and impacts, governance challenges and indicators.

Fiona Becker, Christine Scholl, Lukas RÜttinger, Pia van Ackern, on behalf of the German Environment Agency, June 2020, Umwelt Bundesamt.
[click to view]

[7] PR or Progress? Glencore's Corporate Responsibility in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Chantal Peyer, Patricia Feeney, François Mercier

Bread for All, RAID, Fastenopfer

June 2014
[click to view]

[8] This is what we die for. - Human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Power the Global Trade in Cobalt.

Published in 2016 by Amnesty International.
[click to view]

[3]At least 41 artisanal miners killed in Glencore’s Congo mine collapse, information from Reuters, June 27, 2019.
[click to view]

[4] DR Congo mine collapse death toll rises to 43

June 2019

Newspaper: Al Jazeera
[click to view]

[6]Glencore unit KCC suspends sales from Kamoto mine in DRC, November 2018
[click to view]

[9] Glencore's Kamoto Copper mine in Congo ramping up to full production - Reuters

Author: Karl Decena

23 Sep, 2020
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[10] Mining Technology
[click to view]

Meta information
Last update16/08/2021
Conflict ID:5168
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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