In a Washington, D.C. ceremony on November 15, the US-based capacity building organisation Pact launched a Public-Private Alliance for a Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA) with the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and a coalition of businesses from the electronics industry and civil-society organizations. The PPA is an innovative public-private partnership to build a conflict-free, productive, and responsible mining and minerals trade in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region (GLR).

The PPA combines the financial and technical resources of public, private, and nongovernmental partners to support its goal to break the linkages between the illicit minerals trade and violence and human rights abuses in the GLR. It will assist with the development of a transparent chain of custody system, such as the ITRI Tin and Tantalum Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi), which will allow businesses to identify minerals from mines that have been audited and are verifiably conflict free.

Many millions of people in the GLR are involved in and depend on mining and minerals trade for their livelihoods; a de facto or formal ban on sourcing minerals would result in lost revenues, unemployment, smuggling, fraud, and displacement. It is, therefore, vitally important to establish a conflict-free supply chain which has the confidence of the ‘end users’ in the electronics and other industries and supports the DRC in developing its resources responsibly.

“The areas where the resources needed for building traceability into the minerals supply chain are lacking are the places that are suffering, and hurting the very people lawmakers sought to protect and assist,” said Assheton Stewart Carter, Pact Senior Vice President for Global Engagement. “Artisanal and small-scale mining provides a livelihood for many people and we must have a program in place to ensure it can continue responsibly.”