THE COPPER EATERS
MSH PHOTOGRAPHY FELLOWSHIP GRAND PRIZE 2013 - SOPHOT AWARD 2013 - 53rd BOURSE DU TALENT FINALIST 2013 - SAINT BRIEUC PHOTOREPORTER FESTIVAL GRANT 2012 - PHOTO PHILANTROPY AWARDS PROFESSIONAL FINALIST 2012 - ANI VISAS SHORLISTED 2011
The "copper belt" situated in the Southeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, holds 34 % of the world reserves of cobalt and 10 % of the world copper reserves. Early 2011, the copper price reached its historic record: $10000 US per ton on the London Metal Exchange. Since then, the trend continues, maintaining the price at more than $8000 US per ton. Taking advantage of this unprecedented boom and of the liberalization of the mining sector organized by the World Bank at the beginning of 2000s, immense fortunes are made shielded behind an opaque management of the revenues. Until now, this wealth has benefited only a minority of wheeler-dealers close to the power. Paradoxically, the situation of the some 200000 "creuseurs" (artisan miners) who make up the majority of the workers has worsened. This sharp rise in prices has attracted multinational companies that chased thousands of them away from the richest sites. Only 25 % of this non-qualified workforce were re-employed by the formal sector. The others make do with the exploitation of the backfills or the waste water of the industries, still decreasing their life expectancy as well as their income. The revolts are not rare but are violently repressed.