Sept. 14 (ITRI) -- The mines minister of DR Congo’s North Kivu province escaped an armed attack on his residence in Goma last week, shortly after announcing stricter controls on exports of "conflict minerals” including tin. The home of provincial mines minister Naason Kubuya Ndoole came under fire last Monday, although police guards drove off the assailants.
Earlier in the day he had told Dow Jones that law enforcement officers have mounted various checkpoints along North Kivu's borders with Rwanda and Uganda, which are believed to be the main routes for minerals smuggled from the province. Several vehicles have since been impounded along with smuggled minerals. Last month, a court in Congo sentenced a driver working for the United Nations to three years in jail for trying to smuggle minerals across the Rwandan border.
Congolese mineral exports have been in limbo since April this year after US legislation against conflict minerals caused major consumers to set new certification requirements on their suppliers. The law requires US registered companies to observe and disclose their due diligence on the minerals they produce from East Congo and all surrounding areas. North Kivu had previously accounted for around 70% of total DRC tin ore exports, but shipments have plummeted this year, falling by 61% year-on-year in January-June and virtually ceasing since early April. Although the iTSCi traceability scheme has been in operation in Katanga province for some time it has not yet been implemented in the Kivu provinces.