The mining area of the Congo's Katanga province and Northern Rhodesia straddles the border where it runs along the watershed between the Congo and Zambezi river basins. It yields a fifth of the non-communist world's copper, two-thirds of its cobalt, and other minerals including uranium (O). Kasai province has recently yielded three-quarters of the world's diamonds (mainly industrial ones). Katanga mining got going around 1910, when Elisabethville, the provincial capital, was founded, the Rhodesian railway having been extended north across the border. The Northern Rhodesia Copper- belt was developed much later, but since 1932 it has produced more copper than Katanga -- though less cobalt and uranium.
The Belgian state, as heir to Leopold II (22), owns large holdings in the Union Minière du Haut Katanga and other interlocked companies which together have developed Katanga minerals (the Kasai diamond company is Forminière). British and American capital is much involved there, as well as in the Northern Rhodesia mines, where South Africa's biggest mining corporation (confusingly named 'Anglo-American') is the other main controlling element. British and copper company finance has gone into the building of the Kariba dam and hydro-electric station on the Zambezi, which now supplies power for the Copperbelt, and of the railways to Lobito, Beira and Lourenço Marques in Portuguese Angola and Mozambique, through which Katanga and Rhodesia minerals are exported. (To reach Matadi, the Congo's own seaport, Katanga exports have to be expensively transferred from rail to river and back to rail at Leopoldville).
This mineral wealth has had powerful political effects. It spurred Rhodesian federation in 1953 (31). Katanga provided most of the Congo's revenue under Belgian rule. As Congolese independence approached, the mining companies (and white Rhodesians) encouraged Moise Tshombe's Conakat party, which sought autonomy for Katanga, so as to keep control of its riches. In July 1960 Tshombe declared Katanga independent (23). In August, Albert Kalonji (formerly Lumumba's colleague in the MNC) proclaimed a (Ba-) Luba 'mining state' in the south Kasai diamond region around Bakwanga. Both relied on Belgian advisers, Belgian and other white officers for their hastily formed armies, and revenue from mining companies. The Kasai Baluba had already suffered tribal attacks from the (Bene-)Lulua; when Lumumba sent troops to suppress Kalonji's state, using Russian aircraft, trucks and technicians,