The human rights of artisanal miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: The responsibility of mining companies

Mària Josep F, Miho Taka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore how corporate social responsibility (CSR) in
mining companies can contribute to the promotion of artisanal miners’ human rights (HR) in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Design/methodology/approach – First, the paper designs a framework for a public policy on
artisans, then it incorporates the possible contribution of companies to this policy drawing from the
existent CSR literature. This framework is applied to relationships between mining companies and
artisans in Katanga, a low-conflict Province of the DRC. Finally, CSR guidelines for the promotion of
artisans’ HR are formulated. The theoretical framework articulates a public policy approach – which
includes different actors – and a CSR approach – which develops the specific role of one such actor:
the company – in the promotion of artisanal miners’ HR. Data used in the empirical part are
qualitative and include primary data gathered from visits to different mining companies operating in
the Province and an interview with a local specialist in artisanal miners.
Findings – The first finding is that artisanal miners are a heterogeneous group, with multiple HR
problems. Therefore, a public policy and a CSR policy to promote their HR are equally complex issues.
However, local practices in the specific context of Katanga suggest two suitable CSR strategies for
promoting artisans’ HR: supporting new sustainable economic activities where artisans have been
displaced by a company; and promoting the formalization of artisanal activity where companies are
the artisans’ clients.
Research limitations/implications – This paper does not include interviews with mining
company managers in Katanga in order to design very specific actions in each one of these CSR
strategies. The research does not include field work in high-conflict areas.
Practical implications – The heterogeneity and dynamism of artisanal miners’ problems and the
weakness of the Congolese State lead to a basic recommendation for responsible mining companies in
low-conflict areas: the implementation of dialogues with local communities and local governments in
order to cover the needs of artisanal miners and discover innovation opportunities for the companies.
Originality/value – Although there is abundant literature on artisanal miners, the connection of
artisanal miners and CSR has scarcely been developed. As far as the author knows, the illustration of
this connection for the DRC has not been addressed. Additionally, the design of public policies for
artisanal miners – part of the informal economy – and the contribution of companies to such policies
can help address problems arising from other informal activities in Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-150
Number of pages14
JournalAfrican Journal of Economic and Management Studies
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Fingerprint

Corporate Social Responsibility
Human rights
Responsibility
Public policy
Artisans
Informal economy
Design methodology
Innovation
Economic activity
Local government
Formalization
Dynamism
Local communities
Managers
Africa
Theoretical framework

Keywords

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Mining industry
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Artisanal miners
  • Public policy
  • Human rights
  • Mining companies

Cite this

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title = "The human rights of artisanal miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: The responsibility of mining companies",
abstract = "Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore how corporate social responsibility (CSR) inmining companies can contribute to the promotion of artisanal miners’ human rights (HR) in theDemocratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).Design/methodology/approach – First, the paper designs a framework for a public policy onartisans, then it incorporates the possible contribution of companies to this policy drawing from theexistent CSR literature. This framework is applied to relationships between mining companies andartisans in Katanga, a low-conflict Province of the DRC. Finally, CSR guidelines for the promotion ofartisans’ HR are formulated. The theoretical framework articulates a public policy approach – whichincludes different actors – and a CSR approach – which develops the specific role of one such actor:the company – in the promotion of artisanal miners’ HR. Data used in the empirical part arequalitative and include primary data gathered from visits to different mining companies operating inthe Province and an interview with a local specialist in artisanal miners.Findings – The first finding is that artisanal miners are a heterogeneous group, with multiple HRproblems. Therefore, a public policy and a CSR policy to promote their HR are equally complex issues.However, local practices in the specific context of Katanga suggest two suitable CSR strategies forpromoting artisans’ HR: supporting new sustainable economic activities where artisans have beendisplaced by a company; and promoting the formalization of artisanal activity where companies arethe artisans’ clients.Research limitations/implications – This paper does not include interviews with miningcompany managers in Katanga in order to design very specific actions in each one of these CSRstrategies. The research does not include field work in high-conflict areas.Practical implications – The heterogeneity and dynamism of artisanal miners’ problems and theweakness of the Congolese State lead to a basic recommendation for responsible mining companies inlow-conflict areas: the implementation of dialogues with local communities and local governments inorder to cover the needs of artisanal miners and discover innovation opportunities for the companies.Originality/value – Although there is abundant literature on artisanal miners, the connection ofartisanal miners and CSR has scarcely been developed. As far as the author knows, the illustration ofthis connection for the DRC has not been addressed. Additionally, the design of public policies forartisanal miners – part of the informal economy – and the contribution of companies to such policiescan help address problems arising from other informal activities in Africa.",
keywords = "Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mining industry, Corporate social responsibility, Artisanal miners, Public policy, Human rights, Mining companies",
author = "{Josep F}, M{\`a}ria and Miho Taka",
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language = "English",
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T1 - The human rights of artisanal miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

T2 - The responsibility of mining companies

AU - Josep F, Mària

AU - Taka, Miho

PY - 2012

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N2 - Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore how corporate social responsibility (CSR) inmining companies can contribute to the promotion of artisanal miners’ human rights (HR) in theDemocratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).Design/methodology/approach – First, the paper designs a framework for a public policy onartisans, then it incorporates the possible contribution of companies to this policy drawing from theexistent CSR literature. This framework is applied to relationships between mining companies andartisans in Katanga, a low-conflict Province of the DRC. Finally, CSR guidelines for the promotion ofartisans’ HR are formulated. The theoretical framework articulates a public policy approach – whichincludes different actors – and a CSR approach – which develops the specific role of one such actor:the company – in the promotion of artisanal miners’ HR. Data used in the empirical part arequalitative and include primary data gathered from visits to different mining companies operating inthe Province and an interview with a local specialist in artisanal miners.Findings – The first finding is that artisanal miners are a heterogeneous group, with multiple HRproblems. Therefore, a public policy and a CSR policy to promote their HR are equally complex issues.However, local practices in the specific context of Katanga suggest two suitable CSR strategies forpromoting artisans’ HR: supporting new sustainable economic activities where artisans have beendisplaced by a company; and promoting the formalization of artisanal activity where companies arethe artisans’ clients.Research limitations/implications – This paper does not include interviews with miningcompany managers in Katanga in order to design very specific actions in each one of these CSRstrategies. The research does not include field work in high-conflict areas.Practical implications – The heterogeneity and dynamism of artisanal miners’ problems and theweakness of the Congolese State lead to a basic recommendation for responsible mining companies inlow-conflict areas: the implementation of dialogues with local communities and local governments inorder to cover the needs of artisanal miners and discover innovation opportunities for the companies.Originality/value – Although there is abundant literature on artisanal miners, the connection ofartisanal miners and CSR has scarcely been developed. As far as the author knows, the illustration ofthis connection for the DRC has not been addressed. Additionally, the design of public policies forartisanal miners – part of the informal economy – and the contribution of companies to such policiescan help address problems arising from other informal activities in Africa.

AB - Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore how corporate social responsibility (CSR) inmining companies can contribute to the promotion of artisanal miners’ human rights (HR) in theDemocratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).Design/methodology/approach – First, the paper designs a framework for a public policy onartisans, then it incorporates the possible contribution of companies to this policy drawing from theexistent CSR literature. This framework is applied to relationships between mining companies andartisans in Katanga, a low-conflict Province of the DRC. Finally, CSR guidelines for the promotion ofartisans’ HR are formulated. The theoretical framework articulates a public policy approach – whichincludes different actors – and a CSR approach – which develops the specific role of one such actor:the company – in the promotion of artisanal miners’ HR. Data used in the empirical part arequalitative and include primary data gathered from visits to different mining companies operating inthe Province and an interview with a local specialist in artisanal miners.Findings – The first finding is that artisanal miners are a heterogeneous group, with multiple HRproblems. Therefore, a public policy and a CSR policy to promote their HR are equally complex issues.However, local practices in the specific context of Katanga suggest two suitable CSR strategies forpromoting artisans’ HR: supporting new sustainable economic activities where artisans have beendisplaced by a company; and promoting the formalization of artisanal activity where companies arethe artisans’ clients.Research limitations/implications – This paper does not include interviews with miningcompany managers in Katanga in order to design very specific actions in each one of these CSRstrategies. The research does not include field work in high-conflict areas.Practical implications – The heterogeneity and dynamism of artisanal miners’ problems and theweakness of the Congolese State lead to a basic recommendation for responsible mining companies inlow-conflict areas: the implementation of dialogues with local communities and local governments inorder to cover the needs of artisanal miners and discover innovation opportunities for the companies.Originality/value – Although there is abundant literature on artisanal miners, the connection ofartisanal miners and CSR has scarcely been developed. As far as the author knows, the illustration ofthis connection for the DRC has not been addressed. Additionally, the design of public policies forartisanal miners – part of the informal economy – and the contribution of companies to such policiescan help address problems arising from other informal activities in Africa.

KW - Democratic Republic of the Congo

KW - Mining industry

KW - Corporate social responsibility

KW - Artisanal miners

KW - Public policy

KW - Human rights

KW - Mining companies

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DO - 10.1108/20400701211197320

M3 - Article

VL - 3

SP - 137

EP - 150

JO - African Journal of Economic and Management Studies

JF - African Journal of Economic and Management Studies

SN - 2040-0705

IS - 1

ER -