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Congo Defends Oil Auction Threatening Mountain Gorilla Habitats

  • Companies will need to provide environmental protection plans
  • Environmental groups have submitted petition to halt auction

Democratic Republic of Congo’s oil ministry said Tuesday that companies bidding for 30 oil and gas permits this week will need to commit to environmental and social protection plans as criticism grows of the country’s decision to offer blocks that overlap with rainforests, peatlands, and gorilla habitats.

The permits up for auction Thursday and Friday represent an estimated 22 billion barrels of oil and 66 billion cubic meters of gas, the ministry said in a statement shared with reporters in the capital, Kinshasa. It’s working with Congo’s environmental ministry to ensure protected zones won’t be harmed by the exploration, the statement said.