Amalgamated Metal Corporation and UK-based group Global Witness have been in public discussion over the last week regarding trade in tin ore from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The debate was sparked by the publication on 21 July of a Global Witness report which accused various companies, including AMC and its subsidiary Thaisarco, of buying minerals from the DRC “that are funding armed groups and fuelling conflict.” The report details “how companies are buying from suppliers who trade in minerals from the warring parties.” The NGO is calling for several actions: companies trading in minerals from the DRC to carry out thorough due diligence to ensure that they are not funding warring parties; the DRC and other governments to cut off warring parties’ access to the mines and to international trade routes and external networks; and for home governments to hold to account their companies for involvement in the illicit mineral trade from DRC.

In its own statement in response, AMC agreed with Global Witness’s overall objectives, but noted that it has been involved in trading with the DRC for many years before the current troubles and that its activities have already been investigated to the satisfaction of the United Nations in 2002 and 2008. It is also actively involved in ITRI’s tin industry due diligence scheme.

“AMC and Thaisarco have the objective… of improving the visibility and traceability of the supply chain in order to ensure that warring groups do not benefit from the trade,” AMC said. “If the UN were to decide that dissociation from the trade is the most appropriate way forward, then Thaisarco would comply absolutely with such a requirement.” But it warned an approach of dissociation would be to the detriment of large numbers of artisanal miners and their dependants in DRC. The UK trading group also objected to some aspects pf the Global Witness report: "We are disappointed with the number of inaccuracies and omissions in the report and are concerned that all the facts should be properly represented in a balanced way."

Thaisarco is a member of ITRI’s Tin Supply Chain Initiative due diligence scheme which came into effect on 1 July 2009. Further information on the scheme is at the link below: