An Atlas of African Affairs

By Andrew Boyd; Patrick Van Rensburg | Go to book overview

32. Katanga and Copperbelt

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,

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An Atlas of African Affairs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • A. Population 10
  • B. Regions and Barriers 12
  • C. Languages and Peoples 14
  • D. European and Asian Settlement 20
  • E. 'Pre-European' History 22
  • F. Europeans on the Coast 24
  • G. the European 'scramble' 26
  • H. the New Political Map 28
  • I. British and French Heritages 30
  • J. United Nations Activity 32
  • K. Pan-Africanism and Regional Unity 34
  • L. Africa Overseas 36
  • M. Education 38
  • N. Health and Pests 40
  • O. Minerals 42
  • P. Transport 44
  • Q. Power, Development And Research 46
  • 1. the Maghreb 48
  • 2. Morocco and Mauritania 50
  • 3. Algeria 52
  • 4. Tunisia and Libya 54
  • 5. Egypt and Its Neighbours 57
  • 6. Suez Canal 58
  • 7. Suez-Sinai Conflict, 1956 60
  • 8. the Nile 62
  • 9. Egypt 64
  • 10. the Sudan 66
  • 11. Ethiopia 68
  • 12. the Somalis 70
  • 13. West Africa 72
  • 14. Ex-French Africa 74
  • 15. Ex-French West Africa 76
  • 16. 'Equatorial' Africa 78
  • 17. Commonwealth West Africa 80
  • 18- Senegambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia 82
  • 19. Ghana and Its Neighbours 84
  • 20. Nigeria 86
  • 21. Cameroons 88
  • 22. Two Congos 90
  • 23. Post-Belgian Congo 92
  • 24. Lower Congo 94
  • 25. Between the Lakes 96
  • 26. Ruanda-Urundi 98
  • 27. British East and Central Africa 100
  • 28. Uganda 102
  • 29. Kenya 104
  • 30. Tanganyika and Zanzibar 106
  • 31. the Rhodesias 108
  • 32. Katanga and Copperbelt 110
  • 33. Nyasaland 112
  • 34. Angola and Mozambique 114
  • 35. Malagasy (madagascar) 116
  • 36. South Africa and Its Neighbours 118
  • 37. Protectorates and S.W. Africa 120
  • 38. Eastern South Africa 122
  • Index 125
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