ITRI and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) are pleased to announce signature of a co-operation agreement that aims to seek harmonisation between the ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi) Phase 2 mine-to-export traceability and due diligence scheme, and the ICGLR Regional Certification Mechanism. Both the iTSCi and ICGLR initiatives have a common objective of limiting the ability for armed groups to source financing from the production and trade of minerals in the Great Lakes Region and both organisations are keen to take advantage of the synergies between the two complementary systems. The iTSCi system is now recognised as one important initiative towards implementing the ICGLR Regional Certification Mechanism.

At the occasion of the signing of the partnership agreement, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, ICGLR Executive Secretary, stated that “by working together with ITRI and the industry we can deliver the fast results that we need today. This partnership will also help us to learn the lessons for the implementation of the broader regional certification scheme that the ICGLR Member States are going to implement. I am therefore looking forward to making this co-operation live and active.”

Kay Nimmo, Manager of Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs at ITRI explained that “Re-assuring buyers and consumers, as well as international organisations and regulating government-authorities in third-party countries, that appropriate due diligence measures are being applied across the region is a top priority for the tin industry and its industry partners. We are very pleased to be able to begin working more closely with the ICGLR on this issue.”

Both ICGLR and ITRI recognise the importance and urgency of implementing a practical, cost effective and credible traceability or certification system for conflict minerals and will primarily address cassiterite, columbotantalite and wolframite as part of this co-operation. Application of traceability to gold is desirable but various adaptations of the system may be required.

Ms Nimmo continued “We are very concerned over the threat to continuing trade from the region resulting from the US legislation on conflict minerals. Minerals that are not tagged and traceable under the iTSCi system will not be acceptable to the supply chain of responsible international purchasers from early in 2011 and there is hardly enough time to put everything in place. We are sure that ICGLR involvement will make a significant difference to a successful achievement of this objective.”

The ITRI agreement with ICGLR follows others with the Government of the DRC for co-operation over the initial iTSCi pilot project in North and South Kivu, as well the Rwandan Geology and Mines Authority (OGMR) who are currently implementing the system in Rwanda.