Miners Dig for Gold in Belgian Museum

A collection of colonial-era maps of the Congo draws mining firms to musty stacks
By J. Kelman,  Newser User
Posted Mar 20, 2007 11:33 AM CDT
SOUTH AFRICA. Gold mine workers. 1978. (PAR295960)    (Magnum Photos)

(Newser) A Belgian museum filled with stacks of faded geological maps of the Congo—a former colony—has become an unlikely mecca for mining companies searching for new deposits. With prices soaring and on-site exploration impeded by armed militias, drillers are eager to shell out hefty research fees to the Royal Museum of Central Africa.   

Not everyone is happy that King Leopold’s legacy continues to benefit Belgium. With the Congo’s own records mostly destroyed in wars,  Valentin Kanda Nkula of the Congo’s geological service says, “It’s a legitimate question why they’re not here. It would be nice to share revenue.”