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Insight: "Triangle of death" looms over Congo's mining heartlands

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Children are seen with a bicycle on the road outside the village of Tenke, in Congo's copper-producing south, near a smaller hamlet built by the Tenke Fungurume mining operation to rehouse local families displaced by the mine's expansion, January 30, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which...more

Children are seen with a bicycle on the road outside the village of Tenke, in Congo's copper-producing south, near a smaller hamlet built by the Tenke Fungurume mining operation to rehouse local families displaced by the mine's expansion, January 30, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 30, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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A worker points to a diagram of the extraction process for cobalt and copper at Tenke Fungurume, a mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere...more

A worker points to a diagram of the extraction process for cobalt and copper at Tenke Fungurume, a mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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Staff work in the operations room at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which...more

Staff work in the operations room at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Clara Ferreira-Marques
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A view of a copper processing facility at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga,...more

A view of a copper processing facility at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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A view of processing facilities at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which...more

A view of processing facilities at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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Members of a sewing circle run by woman entrepreneurs pose with garments in the town of Fungurume, close to Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, January 30, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne...more

Members of a sewing circle run by woman entrepreneurs pose with garments in the town of Fungurume, close to Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, January 30, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 30, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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Excavators and drillers at work in an open pit at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut...more

Excavators and drillers at work in an open pit at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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The Boss Mining copper operation, owned by ENRC, is seen from a helicopter in the southern Congolese province of Katanga, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of...more

The Boss Mining copper operation, owned by ENRC, is seen from a helicopter in the southern Congolese province of Katanga, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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Workers at Tenke Fungurume, a copper mine in the southern Congolese province of Katanga, check bundles of copper cathode sheets ready to be loaded and sent out to buyers January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic...more

Workers at Tenke Fungurume, a copper mine in the southern Congolese province of Katanga, check bundles of copper cathode sheets ready to be loaded and sent out to buyers January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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A view of the operations room at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which...more

A view of the operations room at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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A train is seen from a helicopter in the southern Congolese province of Katanga, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought...more

A train is seen from a helicopter in the southern Congolese province of Katanga, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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Huts and smallholdings are seen from a helicopter in the southern Congolese province of Katanga, January 30, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil...more

Huts and smallholdings are seen from a helicopter in the southern Congolese province of Katanga, January 30, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 30, 2013. REUTERS/Clara Ferreira-Marques
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Children stand on the road outside the village of Tenke, in Congo's copper-producing south, near a smaller hamlet built by the Tenke Fungurume mining operation to rehouse local families displaced by the mine's expansion, January 30, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon...more

Children stand on the road outside the village of Tenke, in Congo's copper-producing south, near a smaller hamlet built by the Tenke Fungurume mining operation to rehouse local families displaced by the mine's expansion, January 30, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 30, 2013. REUTERS/Clara Ferreira-Marques
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People are seen on a street in the town of Fungurume, close to Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere...more

People are seen on a street in the town of Fungurume, close to Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Clara Ferreira-Marques
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Workers at Tenke Fungurume, a copper mine in the southern Congolese province of Katanga, check bundles of copper cathode sheets ready to be loaded and sent out to buyers January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic...more

Workers at Tenke Fungurume, a copper mine in the southern Congolese province of Katanga, check bundles of copper cathode sheets ready to be loaded and sent out to buyers January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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A safety slogan in three languages is seen at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga,...more

A safety slogan in three languages is seen at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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A view of a copper processing facility at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga,...more

A view of a copper processing facility at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south, owned by miner Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining and state mining company Gecamines, January 29, 2013. Katanga, a province roughly the size of Spain, was the heart of central Africa's colonial mining industry, its growth fuelled by Belgium's Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which produced tonne upon tonne of copper and also the uranium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. A period of relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and elections that followed - combined with high metal prices - brought private miners, and officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago. Picture taken January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg
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