Societé Minière de Bakwanga

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Societé minière de Bakwanga (abbreviated MIBA) is a diamond mining company based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. MIBA operate near Mbuji Mayi, in Kasai-Oriental Province in south central DRC.

Approximately 80% of MIBA's stock is owned by the Congolese government, with 20% owned by former Umicore subsidiary Sibeka, which in turn is owned by Mwana Africa plc, which operates the mines. The MIBA employees went on strike several times for not being paid for approximately 2 years. The majority of the population in Congo believe that the company's money is being embezzled by the head of the Congolese government Joseph Kabila and his collaborators. This is the reason why employees suffer and haven't been paid for two years.[citation needed]

History[edit]

Diamond mining slag heaps in Bakwanga, Kasai, 1950

The company that is now known as MIBA was originally formed as La Societe Miniere du Beceka, in 1919, with the specific purpose of exploiting the mineral riches in the area of Mbuji-Mayi.[1]

In the 1950s, it was estimated that the city, then known as Bakwanga, and its surrounding area had the world's most important deposit of diamonds, with at least 300 million karats.[2]

Beceka transferred its assets to MIBA in 1961.

Independence from Belgium did not necessarily slow the extraction of diamonds, but it did seriously affect MIBA's dominance of the region's diamond trade. In 1959, the year before Congolese independence, MIBA reportedly produced 14.1 million karats of diamonds, and in 1961 set a record production rate with 18 million karats of diamonds. But by 1963, the numbers had fallen dramatically in the wake of years of turmoil, including an attempt to establish the region as the independent Mining State of South Kasai. In that year, the company produced just 1.4 million karats of diamonds, almost all of them industrial diamonds. By contrast, between 4 million and 6 million karats of diamonds were produced by diamond smugglers who had previously been tightly controlled by the Belgian colonial administrators, to the benefit of the company's Belgian management.[2]

The company's profits were also commandeered by the South Kasai government of rebel leader Albert Kalonji. In 1961, those profits were estimated to be $12 million.[2]

Despite the smuggling and regional turmoil, the company was extremely dominant in the world's diamond trade. In 1963, MIBA produced 80 percent of the world's industrial diamonds and 57 percent of all diamonds.[2]

External links and reference[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Economic Review: Review of the Foreign Press, Volume 1. London: Review of the Foreign Press. November 12, 1919. p. 396. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Lukas, J. Anthony (March 7, 1963). "Gem Smuggling On The Rise In Congo" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 11 April 2016.

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