This book shows the photos that Mike O'Brien took on a visit to the area around Mongbwalu, DRC, in August 2010. Not much has changed since 2004.
Extract from the 2004 Human rights Watch Report: "The Curse of Gold - Democratic Republic of Congo"
"The northeast corner of the DRC is home to one of Africa's richest goldfields.
Competition to control the gold mines and trading routes has spurred the bloody conflict that has gripped this area since the start of the Congolese war in 1998 and continues to the present.
More than sixty thousand people have died due to direct violence in this part of the Congo alone. Rather than bringing prosperity to the people of northeastern Congo, gold has been a curse to those who have the misfortune to live there.
AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. is one of the largest gold production companies in the world, with the majority of shares [at the date of reporting] owned by the international conglomerate, Anglo American plc.
The promising gold mining concession in northeastern Congo had become part of the Ashanti Goldfields portfolio in 1996 when the company bought a stake in a joint venture operation between Mining Development International and OKIMO, called Kilo-Moto International Mining (KIMIN).
This purchase gave Ashanti Goldfields part of the rights to the highly lucrative Concession 40, which included 2,000 square kilometers around Mongbwalu."
The Congo...verdant, dramatically beautiful, filled with abundant natural resources, with an ambience of recent, appalling violence and hidden mass graves - history eradicated, things falling apart.