Archaetnos cc has been appointed by SRK Consulting (SRK) on behalf of Tenke Fungurume Mining (TFM) (an affiliate of CMOC International) to undertake an amendment to previously approved Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) documents for TFM’s existing mining operation in the DRC. The general scope of work is to utilize existing information and data from completed and ongoing studies/monitoring to assess the impact of the proposed changes in the mining plan on cultural heritage resources in the area.

TFM has an existing copper and cobalt mining concession within the DRC. It is located 180 km northwest of Lubumbashi, between the towns of Likasi and Kolwezi, in the Territory of Lubudi, in the Lualaba Province.

TFM intends to further develop resources within the concession through amendments to previously approved ESIA documents via an addendum (ESIA 2019 Addendum). The proposed changes for the 2019 Addendum can be summarized as follows:

  • Four new pits and waste rock facilities (WRFs) for Shadirandzoro, Mudilandima, Pumpi West and Zikule;
  • Modified pits and WRFs footprints for previously permitted mining areas;
  • The modifications of haul roads and the construction of new haul roads from the pit areas to the Kwatebala processing plant;
  • Slight alterations to the TSF 1 and 2 footprints following process optimization;
  • Relocation of on/off leach pad and associated supporting infrastructure to an area south of the Kwatebala Mine on the South Kwatebala WRF; and
  • Installation of exploratory declines to study sulphide deposits within the Central Dipeta Syncline.

The scope of work is to do a desktop cultural heritage study that will include:

  • Review of existing cultural heritage baseline surveys, reports, databases, maps and TFM’s New Ground Clearance and Chance Find Procedure.
  • Provide a high-level summary description of the cultural heritage baseline as applicable to the new project footprint areas, with reference to previous reports.
  • Review and respond to any comments received during the stakeholder engagement and the socio-economic study regarding potential cultural heritage issues.
  • Identify and describe potential impacts to cultural heritage resources, based on existing information and comments received.
  • Provide a motivation for changing current TFM cultural heritage monitoring and management plans where relevant.

It seems that the DRC has no specific cultural heritage legislation. In the DRC, culture is mentioned in the constitution meaning that the cultural heritage is broadly is part of culture. It is also mentioned in mining legislation.

Resultingly international protocols related to cultural heritage must be used as guideline. In fact, the DRC does list various international charters for the protection of cultural heritage as documents they ascribe to. This include, amongst others. the following:

  • Cultural Charter of Africa, 1976
  • The International Finance Corporations’ Performance Standard for Cultural Heritage
  • Equator principles
  • The Australian ICOMOS charter for places of cultural significance, also called the Burra charter, of November 1999.
  • The Venice charter of January 1996.
  • The Conservation plan: a guide to the preparation of conservation plans for places of European cultural significance by James Semple Kerr of Augustus 1985.

The methodology for the study included a survey of literature was undertaken in order to obtain background information regarding the area. Sources consulted in this regard are indicated in the bibliography. This includes reference to other specialist studies of the area, as provided by the client.

Locations of sites are taken from the heritage reports provided. Detailed maps of the individual mining areas were compared to maps indicating the locations of heritage sites in order to establish whether areas remain which needs to be physically surveyed. Baseline information is based on studies done in the area and included in previous ESIA’s (2007, 2011,2013 and 2014).

The number of sites of cultural historical nature identified in and around the project area totals 417. Of these 262 are located outside of mining area, leaving 155 inside. The sites can be divided into Stone Age sites, Iron Age sites, Historical sites, cemeteries and sacred sites.

The potential for finding new sites always is a real possibility. This especially is true of areas that may not have been covered efficiently during previous surveys. The following areas which are impacted on by the changes in the mine plan, does not seem to have been covered by previous heritage studies:

  • North Central Dipeta operational area – Shadirandzoro WRF
  • South Central Dipeta operational area – new pits and associated WRF’s
  • Fungurume east and west operational area – Fungurumu north WRF
  • Kwatebala Complex operational area – changes in process plant and heap leach pad
  • Mofia Quarry to Mwela Mpande operational area – two WRF’s
  • Pumpi operational area – two new pits and the changes in two WRF’s (Pumpi west and east)
  • Salabwe – Kina operational area – WRF
  • Tenke Fwaulu operational area – changes in pit designs

The regulatory framework related to the heritage studies were utilised in detail and the studies conforms to international standards. This includes making use of applicable legislation and where these do nort cover issue, international standards, such as the Equator Principles and the IFC standards for cultural heritage. The management documentation, including  The Cultural Management Plan, mitigation measures, recommendations and Chance Find Procedures are of a high standard and are still appropriate.

The necessary mitigation measures were included. An impressive Management Plan for archaeological sites was also compiled by Golder (2017). Apart from this, a complete Chance Find Procedure was drafted by Golder Associates (2017).

Since the mentioned documents related to cultural heritage is still applicable, the detail in entails can be utilised as such. However, this does not mean that there are no issues. New areas to be developed, and which were not surveyed previously indeed has an effect on the plans in place. Broadly speaking, the following can be recommended for the avoidance of potential impacts:

  • The information from the current heritage studies are valid and should be utilised as per the recommendations in those.
  • The known heritage sites should be overlaid onto the new mine plan in order to make more accurate deductions.
  • The areas indicated above should however be physiacally surveyed in order to obtain more accurate information on the cultural heritage thereof.
  • Information from such a physical survey should be uitlised to add to existing information.
  • If necessary, and in accordance with the survey results, the CMP should be adapted.
  • People and machinery should steer at least 20 m clear from any known heritage site.
  • Heritage sites should be demarcated in order to make it visible for everyone.
  • Sites that are unavoidable should be referred to an archaeologist to investigate and determine the way forward. Some of these may be of such importance that no development may be allowed in close proximity.
  • Those that may be mitigated, should be done as a last resort. This could include, mapping, excavation, documentation and even relocation.
  • The relevant communities should be consulted in this regard.
  • Graves are a far more sensitive issue and impact thereon should be avoided. Should it be impossible, relocation may be allowed.
  • Relocation of graves is subsequent to social consultation.
  • Any new sites or heritage features discovered, should also be referred to an archaeologist to determine the way forward.
  • While waiting for the investigation such sites should be demarcated and avoided.

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