Central African Republic Halts Operations of Chinese Mining Company

The government of the Central African Republic (CAR) has suspended the operations of a Chinese mining company, Daqing SARL, accusing it of collaborating with armed militias, according to a government decree.

The Ministry of Mines stated that Daqing SARL, a Chinese gold and diamond mining company, is guilty of “colluding with armed groups, illegal mining, illegal introduction of foreign nationals into mining areas, non-payment of taxes, and failure to submit activity reports.” This decree was made public on Saturday.

Daqing SARL operated in Mingala, a town in southern CAR, where fighting between the country’s armed forces and the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), an anti-government armed group, has been prevalent.

The Central African Republic has been embroiled in conflict since 2013 when predominantly Muslim rebels seized power, ousting President François Bozize. In response, predominantly Christian militias fought back. A peace deal reached in 2019 only partially quelled the fighting, with six of the 14 signatory armed groups subsequently abandoning the agreement. The CPC was founded in 2020 following the breakdown of the peace deal.

Despite its vast mineral wealth, notably gold and diamonds, the CAR remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Over the past decade, rebel groups have operated with impunity, hampering foreign companies from conducting mineral exploration.

Many of the foreign companies operating in the CAR are Chinese-run and have faced significant security concerns. Last month, four workers were killed at a Chinese-run gold mine in an attack blamed on the CPC. Last year, nine Chinese nationals were killed at another gold mine in the CAR, with the government attributing the attack to the same rebel alliance. In 2020, two Chinese nationals died when local residents led an uprising against a Chinese-operated mine in the south of the country.

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Piers Potter


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