WCS Global Initiatives

Sustainable Mining in Congo

Since August 2010, WCS has worked with several private mining companies in the Republic of Congo to minimize the biodiversity loss associated with proposed iron ore mining projects.

Our work includes detailed field studies of coastal and terrestrial wildlife to determine potential impacts to biodiversity from the mine’s site footprint and transport infrastructure. The field studies have confirmed that critical habitat for elephants, chimpanzees and lowland gorillas could be at risk within the various mine site areas and along the transport corridors that will be developed to ship the ore. Our findings and recommendations have led the respective companies to modify the locations of roadways, tailings areas, and port facilities, and to commission an assessment of offset opportunities.

As the mine sites move towards their development phases, each company is planning to implement an on-going monitoring plan designed by WCS field scientists to measure changes in key biodiversity indicators. A very specific concern that has emerged from the WCS fieldwork is the need to manage and reduce the threats from commercial bushmeat harvests that are likely to significantly increase as people move to the mining site. WCS is now developing a comprehensive education and monitoring program to mitigate these impacts before they escalate and working with other local groups to enforce local wildlife conservation laws and standards.

Learn more about WCS's work in Congo at: congo.wcs.org