Raf Custers (°1954) is a Belgian historian and journalist.

He specialises in extractive industries and development. With ipisresearch.be he focused on Congo, now with gresea.be he's tracking the industry's multinational companies. 

Basic information

Raf Custers
Mining industry, Congo, Multinationals

Supported projects

Cook Islands determined to start deep sea mining

  • Environment
  • Exploitation
  • Industry

AVARUA - In a remote corner of the Pacific, a Polynesian micro-state is preparing for an industrial plunge into the deep sea. The Cook Islands want to extract billions of metal nodules that are lying there.

In murky waters : GSR, lobbying and deep-sea mining

  • Industry
  • Environment

BRUSSELS - Belgian firm GSR, subsidiary of dredging group DEME, is dying to go to the deep sea to mine for metal nodules. Ten years ago, GSR applied for an initial licence to do so.

Kongo Central

  • Economy
  • Agriculture

MATADI - Since colonial times, much and yet little has changed in the Congolese province of Kongo Central. Belgian companies in the Congolese agro-industry no longer play the role they did when they started operating in the then colony more than a century ago. The way in which these companies proceeded to plunder land and conclude dubious contracts with local chiefs in the past, however, has led to a deep dissatisfaction with Belgian investors to this day. 


How Belgium is becoming a formidable player in the deep sea

  • Environment

BRUSSELS - The deep, blue oceans are home to an unprecedented wealth of biodiversity, as well as the planet's last unexploited resources. The race to the ocean floor is in full swing and Belgium is in the leading group.

Addicted to Colombian coal

  • Energy
  • Environment

EL CERREJON - Raf Custers went to the North of Colombia where he visited El Cerrejon, the site of the largest coal mine in Latin America.

La Revolucion Gulliveriana

LATIN AMERICA - In the last few years money has been made with raw materials. Lots of money. Everyone was after it to win and sell them or to process them in industry. The result: prices skyrocketed. Those who traded in raw materials became rich while sleeping. That credo applied to companies, and governments too believed in it.

The Race for Raw Materials

  • Energy

Without fuel our cars will stop moving; it is something we all know and realise. Far less of our attention is aimed at raw materials. Unrightfully so, because without raw materials cars it would not even be possible to make cars. The average car contains about a mile of copper wire, copper that is mainly looked for in Africa.

Bolivia takes production of lithium into own hands

  • Energy
  • Politics

Uyuni is a backward region in the South of Bolivia. Bult the salt lake of Uyuni is rich with lithium, the commodity for the production of batteries, soon also for batteries for electrical vehicles. For this raw material a game of chess is being played between some multinational companies, the people of Uyuni and Bolivia's government.

Mentor for

The West Africa Green Rush

  • Armed conflict
  • Environment
  • Transport

TOUVRE (IVORY COAST) - There is an increased demand for minerals such as cobalt, nickel and lithium. These minerals are used to make electronic devices such as laptops, smartphones and electric vehicles - technologies which are deemed essential to the 'green transition'. However, the increase in demand has led to new pressures for communities around the world that live alongside these minerals.