Monday, December 20, 2010

Natural Resources Extraction in Congo: "Treasure Amid Turmoil," According to the Financial Times

The abundance of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo alongside the difficulty of actually operating there are explained in a fascinating recent article in the Financial Times.

In "Treasure Amid Turmoil" (Dec. 16, 2010), the FT reports that "As metal and mineral prices rise, Congo's bountiful deposits are growing in investor allure -- though seizures of western assets point to the difficulties of operating in a failing state." The article highlights the political, social, and development-related challenges associated with doing business in Congo. The role of multinationals in working in the country is explained. One thing is clear -- the road ahead will not be an easy one by any means.

The opportunities and challenges involved in operating in a country such as the Democratic Republic of Congo are more fully explored and analyzed in a pioneering three course series that the University of Denver Sturm College of Law has developed. Taught by resources experts, Luke Danielson, a Gunnison, Colorado, attorney, and Cecilia Dalupan, associate director of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, the "Natural Resources Development Series" considers how to operate sustainably in three contexts: (1) internationally; (2) within nation states; and (3) within communities where the work actually takes place. The first course -- dealing with emerging international trends -- will be offered over two long weekends in late February and late March 2011. The blog will be reporting more detail on this first course in the coming weeks. The second and third courses will be offered in one-week sessions in July 2011. Each course counts for three credits.

Balancing the competing interests in natural resources development so as to move towards a sustainable model is no small feat. It will take a new generation of practitioners who have studied and thought about what works and what does not work. DU's new series will help prepare this new generation.

Don C. Smith
Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program

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