The world’s leading tin smelting companies, working with the global tin association ITRI, have, from the 1st July 2009, implemented the first phase of a comprehensive due diligence plan for tin minerals sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The initiative has been widely welcomed with constructive feedback from the United Nations, the OECD and a number of specialist NGO’s.

The ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi) scheme has been developed by an ITRI working group, of which Thailand Smelting & Refining Co Ltd (Thaisarco) and Malaysia Smelting Corporation Berhad (MSC) are members. It is being implemented by Thaisarco and MSC in stages, and is designed to be a constructive approach towards improved due diligence and traceability of tin minerals from the region. Traxys Belgium SA/NV are invited expert advisers to the ITRI group. The scheme is aimed at improving transparency of the tin supply chain and is anticipated to complement the initiatives of national and international governmental organisations in the DRC.

The first phase of the iTSCi scheme focuses on the immediate supply chain from the DRC exporter/comptoir to smelter and introduces due diligence procedures which will ensure the legitimacy of suppliers and the mineral which they export. A newly agreed industry procedure for recording a range of export documents, as well as a specially designed ‘comptoir certificate’, forms the basis of the first phase. The comptoir’s certificate will record a physical description of the material, together with the declared mine origin and transport route via the intermediate ‘negociant’ supplier.

Actions that will extend the level of knowledge by collating upstream supply chain information from mine to exporter/comptoir are planned in the second phase of the project. At that stage ITRI intends to work with project partners within the DRC from relevant technical organisations and official services; the Division of Mines and SAESSCAM (the artisanal mining support and monitoring organisation) are DRC organisations which may be of particular importance in this field work. This phase will be implemented following discussion with relevant partner organisations and when funding has been agreed. It is hoped this can be achieved in 2010.

The third phase will include of a more detailed set of supply chain performance standards and ratings that will allow both qualitative and quantitative assessment of a range of factors at each level of the supply chain. It is anticipated that this third phase may be implemented in 2010 or 2011.

Kay Nimmo, Manager of Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs noted that “ITRI and its members recognise the importance of the small scale mining sector, as artisanal miners contribute more than 50% of the world’s tin production. We are very pleased to announce details of the iTSCi project, aimed at operations in the DRC, as it is an important first step in our activities.”

Malaysia Smelting Corporation Berhad (MSC) and Thailand Smelting & Refining Co Ltd (Thaisarco), the only ITRI members smelting cassiterite originating in the DRC, are keen to promote the iTSCi scheme. Their suppliers participating in the project are currently: BEB Investment, Comptoir Panju, CR Central Africa, Metmar, Minerals Supply Africa, Refractory Metals Mining, Tengen Metals, Trademet, Traxys and T.T.T. Mining.

Development of the iTSCi plans is continuous and ITRI is working not only with industry supply chain partners but with governmental and non-governmental organisations who are being consulted on these activities. Examples include the Minister of Mines of the DRC, the UN Group of Experts, the OECD, and a number of NGO’s including Global Witness and the ENOUGH Project.

About Cassiterite from the DRC:
Background documents such as the ITRI Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) Policy as well as specific information relevant to the situation in the DRC can be found on this ITRI webpage;  

The provinces of South Kivu, North Kivu and Maniema are the main cassiterite mining provinces within the DRC. All mining operations for cassiterite in these areas are by artisanal means. There is no formalised mining of cassiterite in the DRC. The ITRI estimate of tin supply from the region in 2008 is 15,500t, representing around 6% of world mine production.

French version of press release

For editorial information contact:

Kay Nimmo, ITRI Ltd
Manager – Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs
Telephone +44 (0) 1727 871 312
Email: [email protected]  

Joanna Symons
PR Consultant
Telephone: + 44 (0) 1344 360 367
Email: [email protected]