Democratic Republic of Congo

TFM’s mining operations generate significant economic stimulus in DRC. Indirect economic effects are created from spending by TFM contractors, employees and local small businesses. There has been sizeable growth in the number of local service companies and small suppliers near the concession, with indirect employment in these companies exceeding 1,000 full time jobs in 2015.

The surge in economic activity in the TFM concession and surrounding area has attracted a high and sustained influx of people from elsewhere in the DRC. In search of economic opportunity, new arrivals drive demand for a wide variety of locally produced goods and services but their presence also increases competition for jobs, public services and natural resources. As TFM cannot provide jobs to everyone, TFM’s economic development program aims to support the creation of economic opportunities not directly linked to the mine. Since agriculture is the primary economic activity in the region, TFM continues to focus on agriculture-related programs to reduce community dependence on mining and provide an alternative livelihood to illegal artisanal mining.

Under the TFM maize credit program, TFM purchases and delivers seeds, fertilizer and technical assistance to local farmers. Agronomists in the TFM Community Development department provide extension services, training the farmers in improved agricultural practices with the goal of improving yields to increase household income. The maize credit program has enabled participating farmers to increase maize yields from a baseline of 0.8-1.2 metric tons per hectare in 2008 to an average 5.3 metric tons per hectare in 2015. In 2015, TFM’s maize credit program supported 590 maize farmers (including 28 traditional authorities and 147 women) in 27 villages farming 721 hectares. Based on the total estimated yield of 3,606 tons and an average market price of $250 per ton, this program created approximately $900,000 in economic value in 2015.

Beans and peanuts were introduced to complement maize as rotational cash crops in 2014. These nitrogen-fixing crops help improve soil quality and reduce total production costs. In 2015 the bean credit program supported 379 farmers (including 91 women) farming 256 hectares, while the peanut credit program supported 124 farmers (including 23 women) farming 34 hectares. TFM purchased and delivered seeds and provided technical assistance to the farmers. Based on the total estimated yield of 261 tons of beans and 37 tons of peanuts with and an average market price of $1,100 per ton for beans and $1,300 per ton for peanuts, this program created approximately $330,000 in economic value in 2015.

A goat husbandry project aims to improve the socioeconomic conditions of households in the TFM concession by supporting food security, diversifying sources of income and supplying quality animal protein. An initial distribution of 473 goats (462 females and 15 males) to 153 households in 13 villages had grown to approximately 970 animals at the end of 2015. Each participating family received three ewes while each village received one buck. The ewes are bred, and the first female and all male kids may be kept by the family or sold. The second female kid is returned to the TFM Community Development department for distribution to other households. The total economic value of the goats produced in 2015 was approximately $40,000.

In 2015, TFM’s Social Community Fund (the Fund) completed construction of a demonstration farm where 42 farmers planted 64 hectares of maize and soy. Farmer trainees are learning best practices on planting, maintaining, and harvesting their crops, in addition to how to work in groups to increase productivity. The goal of the demonstration farm is to increase the average revenue of farmers in the concession through improved technology and farming practices, introduction of crop diversification, and value-adding of crops through food processing.

The Fund also provided technical and material support to four farmer associations involved in fish farming, greenhouse tomato culture and management of tractors under an Integrated Villages Program. In 2015, 55 concession farmers in 5 villages benefited from this program.

From inception through 2015, the Fund has accrued approximately $23.6 million, allocated $16.9 million to projects on the concession and spent approximately $13.1 million on projects and operational support. Since its establishment, the Fund has strived to engage local contractors on its projects and to prioritize local procurement. In 2015, the Fund projects employed an average of 108 direct temporary employment opportunities each month.

TFM continues to take steps to better understand the direct and indirect economic impacts and multiplier effects of its mining activities in the local, regional and national economy. Key findings of an economic assessment conducted by Oxford Economics in 2013 is available here.