Hearings / The Banro Case

The responsibility of multinational corporations and the World Bank

Has the Canadian mining company BANRO benefited from political instability during the war?

When Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) was close to bankruptcy in 1996, the Canadian start-up company BANRO bought the license for gold mining in the Twangiza site close to Bukavu from president Mobutu. When the company started building the mine in 2003, the locals from the village were relocated. A conflict has erupted with the inhabitants of Luwhindja.

Has the Canadian mining company BANRO benefited from political instability during the war by plundering raw materials of Eastern Congo? Or are they pioneers of regional industrialization?

The introduction of the Dodd-Frank Act and the OECD guidelines, that forbid trading with „conflict minerals“ from Eastern Congo, seems to be only image enhancement for the electronics industry.

On site, the situation hardly improved. Instead, Congolese miners were replaced and the multinational companies profit from the political instability by acquiring licenses for mining under favorable conditions. Are companies co-responsible for human rights violations in Eastern Congo or do they contribute to the stabilization of the region?


"BANRO has decided to build a factory and expelled me and my children."

Zilahirwa Chakirwa (witness, Bukavu) is a Priest in the community of Cinjira that had to resettle since the Canadian mining company BANRO has started its operations in the Twangiza territory.


"To deny a population access to drinking water, basic medical supplies and food is also a way to destroy them."

Peter Mugisho Matabishi (witness and expert, Bukavu) is a political activist from Luhwindja. He took the case of BANRO and Twangiza to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). He considers the concessions from Kinshasa to be land theft.


"It was a Machiavellian manipulation."

Serge Lammens (witness, Berlin) was the administrative director of Somniki, the Belgian mining company that was taken over by BANRO in 1996. He reported that BANRO laid off all 6000 local workers only a few months after they took over of the company.


"The current mining legislation in the DR Congo is simply the French version of what was written by the World Bank."

Vital Kamerhe (witness and expert, Bukavu / Berlin) is a well-known politician in the DR Congo and presidential candidate. He is considered one of the most severe critic of the government of Joseph Kabila, for whom he worked as political advisor.


"BANRO has "impunity "for the entire duration of the mine project."

Raf Custers (expert, Berlin) is a Belgian historian and journalist. In his book “Chasseurs de matières premières” he highlights the history of the Canadian mining company BANRO in South Kivu and the role of the World Bank in the revision of the mining contracts after the Second Congo War.


"The corporations have been successful in circumventing the existing laws."

Saskia Sassen (member of the jury, Berlin) sociologist, economist and one of the harshest critics of globalization. She examines the destruction of civil societies as an intrinsic necessity of globalisation.