Mining Alternatives Project


The 2002 mining code in the Democratic Republic of Congo galvanized industrial investment and raised high hopes among local communities. However, “locals have seen few benefits. Congo remains one of the world’s least developed countries, plagued by corruption and poor governance” (Reuters) — creating disillusionment among the population.

Indeed, some local mining communities believe that they have lost everything with the advent of industrial mining. To survive, communities illegally occupy unused land and extract minerals from mining parcels granted to industrial companies by the Congolese state. A parallel economy of survival through artisanal mining — small-scale, unlawful, and dangerous subsistent mining — is therefore underway.

The Mining Alternatives Project (MAP) research study was conducted by DRC-based Centre Arrupe Pour La Recherche et La Formation (CARF) in partnership with Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University.

The goal of MAP is to provide a focal point for corporate funders benefiting from cobalt to collaborate toward systemic solutions that are driven by the needs of the most vulnerable in DRC mining communities for sustainable, alternative livelihoods.

    • Phase I: Assess the social, economic, and environmental impact of industrial and artisanal mining on these key mining communities, as well as local perceptions of the effectiveness of responsible sourcing initiatives for cobalt, such as traceability and certification.
    • Phase II: Identify viable and effective alternatives to remove vulnerable women and children from industrial and artisanal mines and to improve family livelihoods in local mining communities in the DRC.
    • Phase III: Investigate and analyze existing and planned programs with similar goals in DRC mining regions.

Download the Mining Alternatives Whitepaper