Pact, the US capacity building non-profit organisation, has called on tin users to support efforts to provide a transparent market for “conflict minerals”, thereby supporting the livelihoods of many thousands of people in Central Africa. In a statement commenting on the recent suspensions of several Rwandan companies, Pact noted that this “shows that the governance structure that the iTSCi system provides helps authorities regulate the mining sector and detect potentially illegal activity. It is essential to expand these traceability and regulatory efforts to enable mining zones such as Eastern DRC to become viable sources for responsible buyers, who, currently, have abandoned the market.”

Since the spring of 2010, Pact has been working with ITRI, T.I.C., local and national authorities and local and international businesses to implement the iTSCi program in the DRC and adjoining countries. iTSCi allows buyers along the supply chain to determine the source of minerals mined and traded in the Central African Great Lakes Region and thus enables companies, authorities, and other stakeholders to detect and avoid “conflict minerals,” conforming to the requirements of the U.S. Dodd-Frank law and the OECD guidelines.

Assheton Carter, Pact’s Senior Vice President for Global Engagement pointed out: “Areas where iTSCi is up and running show a markedly different level of economic activity than sites where there is no traceability. There are now some 45,000 artisanal miners making a living, legally exporting hundreds of tonnes of traceable minerals from non-conflict sources in the region every month. The Congolese provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu, and Maniema in particular need resources to reverse the unintended adverse effects of the U.S. Dodd-Frank legislation. Areas which are now under a de facto embargo and where local people depended on artisanal mining for their livelihoods are experiencing lost revenues, unemployment, smuggling, fraud, displacement, and increased pressure on other commodities. Responsible companies who are willing to buy conflict-free minerals from the region urgently need to show their commitment: unless a transparent and legal mineral market can be re-started, the very people the law sought to protect and assist will continue to suffer the most.”