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Pictures | Fri Feb 22, 2013 | 11:50am EST

Insight: Congo's neglected state miner hankers for past glory

Gecamines' Shituru hydrometallurgical facility, which processes copper and cobalt, is seen in this general view, outside Likasi in the southern region of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg

Gecamines' Shituru hydrometallurgical facility, which processes copper and cobalt, is seen in this general view, outside Likasi in the southern region of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg

Gecamines' Shituru hydrometallurgical facility, which processes copper and cobalt, is seen in this general view, outside Likasi in the southern region of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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Chinese-made machinery is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper plant in Kambove, in the southern region of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)

Chinese-made machinery is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper plant in Kambove, in the southern region of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than...more

Chinese-made machinery is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper plant in Kambove, in the southern region of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)
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A worker walks at Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg

A worker walks at Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than...more

A worker walks at Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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An excavator is used at the bottom of Congolese state mining company Gecamines' Kamfundwa open pit copper mine January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg

An excavator is used at the bottom of Congolese state mining company Gecamines' Kamfundwa open pit copper mine January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg

An excavator is used at the bottom of Congolese state mining company Gecamines' Kamfundwa open pit copper mine January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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A worker's arm is seen against a board in the control room at Gecamines' Shituru hydrometallurgical facility, which processes copper and cobalt, outside Likasi in the southern region of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg

A worker's arm is seen against a board in the control room at Gecamines' Shituru hydrometallurgical facility, which processes copper and cobalt, outside Likasi in the southern region of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, January 31, 2013....more

A worker's arm is seen against a board in the control room at Gecamines' Shituru hydrometallurgical facility, which processes copper and cobalt, outside Likasi in the southern region of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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A sign is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper operation at Kambove in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg

A sign is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper operation at Kambove in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg

A sign is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper operation at Kambove in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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A piece of malachite, a copper ore, is seen at the bottom of Congolese state mining company Gecamines' Kamfundwa open pit copper mine January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg

A piece of malachite, a copper ore, is seen at the bottom of Congolese state mining company Gecamines' Kamfundwa open pit copper mine January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg

A piece of malachite, a copper ore, is seen at the bottom of Congolese state mining company Gecamines' Kamfundwa open pit copper mine January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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The Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator is seen at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga, in this general view taken January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)

The Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator is seen at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga, in this general view taken January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly...more

The Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator is seen at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga, in this general view taken January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)
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Machinery is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)

Machinery is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more...more

Machinery is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)
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A worker stands by a conveyor belt at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)

A worker stands by a conveyor belt at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It...more

A worker stands by a conveyor belt at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)
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Gecamines' Shituru hydrometallurgical facility, which processes copper and cobalt, is seen outside Likasi in the southern region of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in this general view taken January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)

Gecamines' Shituru hydrometallurgical facility, which processes copper and cobalt, is seen outside Likasi in the southern region of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in this general view taken January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was...more

Gecamines' Shituru hydrometallurgical facility, which processes copper and cobalt, is seen outside Likasi in the southern region of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in this general view taken January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)
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A labourer works at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)

A labourer works at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more...more

A labourer works at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper concentrator at its Kambove operation in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)
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A truck is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper facility at Kambove in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)

A truck is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper facility at Kambove in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people...more

A truck is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper facility at Kambove in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)
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A truck with a flat tire is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper facility at Kambove in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)

A truck with a flat tire is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper facility at Kambove in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more...more

A truck with a flat tire is seen at the Congolese state mining company Gecamines' copper facility at Kambove in the southern province of Katanga January 31, 2013. At its peak, Gecamines was almost a state within a state. It directly employed more than 30,000 people and ran schools, hospitals, flour mills and vast swathes of arable land, much of which it still maintains, further draining its stretched finances. Its roots are in the mining company set up at the turn of the last century by statesman Cecil Rhodes and Belgian King Leopold II, which later became Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and then Gecamines. Picture taken January 31, 2013. To match Insight DRCONGO-MINING/GECAMINES REUTERS/Jonny Hogg (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)
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