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HomeAfrica FocusBiological diversity plan for DRC mines

Biological diversity plan for DRC mines

Progressive rehabilitation is at the core of plans to protect biodiversity at Glencore’s two mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Glencore, a globally diversified natural resource company and producer of copper and cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has announced a new biodiversity management plan for its DRC assets.

Aligning itself with various UN initiatives on biodiversity, the company’s stated goal is to minimise and manage its impacts and, upon completion of its activities in the DRC, return the land to sustainable use. In presenting its new plan, Glencore noted that it appreciates that biological diversity is a global asset of enormous value to future generations.

Clint Donkin, Head of Glencore Copper Africa

“We recognise the increasing focus in the area of biological diversity and the main outcomes of the 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference, known as COP15, that took place in December 2022. The theme for the UN International Day for Biological Diversity in 2023 ‒ “From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity” – not only coincides with the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework at COP15, it also aligns with our renewed progressive rehabilitation intent and biodiversity management plan for our DRC assets,” said Clint Donkin, Head of Glencore Copper Africa.

“Some of Glencore’s industrial sites in the DRC date back decades, and as such, the company has in some instances inherited a significantly altered environment. Regardless of the legacy, for each site we work to understand the impact of each of our mining activities on different aspects of the environment and to compile a robust biodiversity management plan that specifies risk and mitigation strategies. We then draw on ongoing and detailed baseline studies on terrestrial and aquatic fauna and flora to improve our performance and project outcomes.”

Progressive rehabilitation is a proactive rather than reactive activity that brings to life rehabilitation measures at the same time as mining, way before mine closure.

Glencore Biological Diversity Plan for DRC Mines

Donkin adds, “Our DRC operations continually review and update our biodiversity management plans to incorporate new data and suggestions. For instance, the Miombo reforestation project comprising more than a dozen species of seedlings, will also include species for medicinal use and wild fruit after consultation with local communities. The environment also lends itself to growing a species of mushroom that is a local delicacy and presents a business opportunity for the community.”

Likewise, the research and development partnership with the University of Lubumbashi to create an artificial wetland includes trials and sampling pilots.

According to Prof Mylor Ngoy Shutcha, Dean of the Faculty of Agronomic Sciences at the institution, “We greatly appreciate the collaboration with KCC and the focus on biodiversity restoration within its site. In particular, we appreciate the vision of sustainability based on the use of native species of the region and the development of a green infrastructure to improve the living environment of our workforce and communities.”

Donkin concludes, “We are hopeful that together, we can find workable solutions for surface water management as well as for enhancing and protecting the ecological infrastructure for generations to come. When all stakeholders work as a collective, the opportunity exists to put the local economy, the development and wellbeing of people and the stewardship of the environment at the centre of decision-making.”

Glencore projects in the DRC include progressive rehabilitation and site-level biodiversity plans to drive progress.

    • Artificial wetland research and development project partnership with the University of Lubumbashi: enhancing local ecological infrastructure and treating stormwater using native aquatic flora species.
    • Reforestation of Miombo woodland which populates a large portion of the Kolwezi region.
    • Project to plant up to 100 000 seedlings each year in allocated area surrounding KCC’s operations, for five years.
    • Progressive site rehabilitation at MUMI, including planting of up to 600 seedlings per hectare, and three hectares per annum including more than 20 species.
About Glencore in the DRC

Glencore has been present in the DRC since 2008. Glencore Copper Africa operates two industrial copper and cobalt operations: Copper Company SA (KCC), a partnership with Gécamines and Mutanda Mining SARL (MUMI), of which the DRC Government holds a 5% stake. Both operations are located in Kolwezi in the Lualaba province. Across both operations Glencore has over 8 700 employees and more than 7 100 contractors.


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