Following meetings in Kinshasa last week, the Minister of Mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Martin Kabwelulu, has backed ITRI’s supply chain monitoring scheme aimed at identifying the sources of tin ore mined in the country’s eastern provinces. In a letter to ITRI project leader, Kay Nimmo, the Minister praised ITRI’s “progressive and constructive approach” and promised that the ministry’s own experts would contribute to the development and implementation of “a system to check the supply chain that meets the requirements of the international community.” The ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi) was launched in July and aims to ensure that revenue from tin sales does not benefit armed groups.

Paul Mabolia Yenga, a special advisor to the Ministry of Mines, and co-ordinator of the Kimberley process in the DRC, confirmed that the ITRI proposals will be integrated into government activities to set up traceability of tin, columbo-tantalite and wolframite. The iTSCi project is seen to complement both the Ministry’s current plans to work with the UN mission in the DRC (MONUC) to establish secure trading centres in the region, and the stabilisation plan for eastern DRC.

As well as the Minister and Vice Minister of Mines and their expert group (including SAESCAM and CEEC), ITRI also met with a number of other stakeholders in Kinshasa. As Kay Nimmo explained “We discussed our proposal with representatives of FEC, CREDDHO, MONUC, the World Bank, DFID, BGR, the STAREC programme and a number of national embassies, as well as Vice Prime Minister Bongeli and all provided positive feedback and expressed encouragement for our project. We are sure that we will be able to find synergies with many of the other constructive activities being undertaken by these organisations and, together with the Government, we hope to contribute to development and stability in eastern DRC and encourage international buyers to support those aims by continued purchasing.”

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. Traxys Belgium SA/NV are invited advisers to the ITRI group. The Minister also wrote to ask AMC (Thaisarco) and Traxys to resume tin ore purchases in the country, which has been suspended from September and July respectively. All three companies remain committed to the ITRI initiative and finding a way forward.


From left to right; John Kanyoni (North Kivu Comptoir Association), Giles Robbins (AMC-Thaisarco), Frederic Delforge (Traxys), Martin Kabwelulu (Minister of Mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo), Paul Mabolia Yenga (Special Advisor to Ministry of Mines), Kay Nimmo (ITRI) and Pierrot Kanyere (Ministry of Mines).

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 translation of press release (pdf)