© Robert Ddamulira


DRC is an extremely rich country: it is estimated to have US $24 trillion worth of untapped deposits of raw mineral ores, including the world’s largest reserves of cobalt and significant quantities of the world’s diamonds, gold and copper. It also has important oil deposits.

The juxtaposition of mining, petroleum, forestry, agro-industrial titles and protected areas creates conflict between written laws and customary laws. This mix-up of laws and responsibilities often leads to conflict

The WWF Extractive Programme aims to contribute to the change from the usual business scenarios toward a more sustainable and responsible business model supporting the growth of the conservation benefits of natural resource across the national territory.

To succeed in this mission, WWF’s extractive industries program focuses its attention on 4 mains areas: 
  • Policy level and enabling environment for sustainable extractive approaches in DRC
  • Collaborative approach with responsible extractive companies for biodiversity net gain impact
  • Capacity building of key stakeholders with emphasis on the civil society for fair bargaining and monitoring  law enforcement and standard implementation in the extractive areas
  • A particular attention is also given to China Investment and its alignment to the public engagement (FOCAC) of the Chinese Government to practice sustainability and link natural resource extraction with infrastructure development       


1. Lack of adequate legislation for the oil sector, despite the presence of major oil companies

2. Uncertainty over the mining code, which is undergoing revision

3. Limited application of environmental and conservation laws

4. Uncontrolled expansion of biofuels, including the risk of conversion of natural forests to oil palm plantations

5. Land grabbing

6. Poorly organized artisanal mining sector, which employs around 2 million miners.


The overall objective of the program is that extractive industries (mining, oil and palm oil) contribute to the development of a green economy while minimizing negative impacts on the environment.



Managing these sectors requires the involvement of all stakeholders. WWF is working with civil society organizations and other stakeholders within the sector to help:
  • Monitor the exploitation of natural resources (timber, minerals and oil)
  • Reform legislation and ensure regulations on hydrocarbons, mining and nature conservation are followed Develop a framework for consultation so that stakeholders, particularly local communities and indigenous peoples, can have a say, assert their rights, and demand their share of the benefits
  • Secure protected areas and develop land-use plans, particularly for mining and oil.
  • We support the creation of a government institution (Congolese Environment Agency) to evaluate and approve environmental and social impact assessments, and monitor their implementation.
  • Additionally, we advocate for an independent national observer to verify that environmental and social measures are enforced. This observer should be fully recognized by the government and present at both central and provincial levels to ensure close monitoring.


Inside protected areas: we want to stop all exploitation of natural resources that affect and threaten biodiversity and ecological systems. We particularly target the Virunga, Itombwe and Salonga protected areas. 

Outside protected areas: we work with all stakeholders to effectively improve exploitation practices through:
  • Supporting new laws, regulations and the development of social and environmental standards of international quality
  • Supporting civil society to monitor the impacts of natural resource exploitation
  • Collaborating with WWF China for a Global Shift Initiative to encourage Chinese companies to abide by laws and regulations
  • Promoting best exploitation practices based on recognized national and international standards
  • Supporting micro-zoning and land management of priority landscapes to integrate mining and agro-industries in ways that don’t compromise ecological balance and that respect high conservation value sites.