ITRI is pleased to announce the signature of an official ‘Protocole d’Accord’ with the Ministry of Mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) regarding co-operation on the practical implementation of Phase 2 of the ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi) and the selection of mine sites for the pilot trial. In signing the Protocole with ITRI, the Ministry of Mines has given its full support and authority to the pilot trials and will ensure that ITRI and its representatives and partners in the project are given fullest co-operation in the field from all relevant government departments and services.

Initial pilot sites have been selected at Bisie, in North Kivu and Nyabibwe in South Kivu, with consideration of further sites in Katanga and other provinces possible depending on project resourcing, success and other factors. Bisie is considered a key site for cassiterite, while Nyabibwe is relevant for both cassiterite and columbotantalite. Work in the field at Nyabibwe will be carried out in co-operation with BGR, an organisation also starting a project on the implementation of mine certification standards. Both BGR and ITRI, as well as a number of international donors, are members of the Ministry of Mines Thematic Working Group acting together to harmonise activities aimed at developing the mining sector in the DRC.

ITRI has been working since early 2009 on a phased approach towards improved due diligence, governance, and traceability of cassiterite from the DRC. The first phase of the iTSCi scheme has been operating for almost a year and ensures all official export and evaluation documentation is available with mineral shipments for export, while Phase 2 will now begin to track minerals and provide verifiable provenance information from individual mine sites in eastern DRC.

David Bishop, Managing Director of ITRI, who has recently returned from Kinshasa commented; “The agreement with the Ministry of Mines is an essential element of the pilot project. We intend to start the tagging of mineral batches within a matter of weeks and we are extremely pleased that ITRI and its partners can be assured of the full backing of the DRC government. I am delighted that the Minister for Mines, Martin Kabwelulu, has given his personal support to the iTSCi scheme and shares our urgency for implementation of the project.”

The Phase 2 pilot project is being implemented in the DRC through ITRI’s project partners BEGEM, with technical support from capacity building organisation PACT. The pilot trial is financially supported by; ITRI smelter members purchasing from the region, comptoirs supplying those smelters, other intermediate traders of DRC and Rwandan cassiterite, the Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center (T.I.C.), as well as downstream users of tin and tantalum in the electronics and tinplate sector, including members of EICC and GeSI .

Luis Neves, Chair of GeSI stated; "The implementation of a credible tracking scheme is necessary for the on-going exportation of conflict-free materials from the DRC. GeSI and the EICC are supportive of the iTSCi pilot as it is critical to the learnings and development of such a scheme.”

The pilot project will run for several months and then the possible extension and expansion of the scheme to cover additional mine sites and regions of DRC will be considered in consultation with the Ministry of Mines and potential project funders. Set up of the pilot project staff and resources in the DRC has been underway since March.

Participation in the iTSCi scheme is open to any non-ITRI smelter companies who are willing to follow the requirements and levy collection procedures of the due diligence scheme. However, cassiterite of DRC origin purchased by non-ITRI smelters unfortunately remains outside the iTSCi scheme at this time.

Press release pdf (English)

Press release pdf (French)