To promote responsible sourcing and economic development in the DRC industry and Government partners started a conflict-free tin initiative (CFTI) in the Province of South Kivu in October 2012. Those partners, led by Jaime de Bourbon Parme, Special Envoy for Natural Resources of Government of the Netherlands, recently visited Kalimbi mine and the cassiterite trading chain to observe progress with the project. The delegation included representatives of Motorola Solutions, Fairphone and Boukje Theeuwes, Manager of Supplier Sustainability at Philips who explained; “The US Dodd-Frank Act has driven many companies away from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in fear for the administrative, cost, and public perception repercussions. Philips is of the opinion that it is not right to abandon the DRC. We know we can play a role to restore economic development by simply creating a demand for conflict free minerals from the DRC. We have taken that responsibility and placed the first order for this conflict-free tin via our supply chain. The iTSCi scheme provides the necessary assurances that these minerals are conflict-free. By being here in the DRC we want to encourage other multinationals and US stock listed companies to follow suit.”

The CFTI utilises iTSCi facilitated traceability, stakeholder meetings, due diligence and independent audits and includes a smelter committed to the conflict-free smelter (CFS) programme. The visitors included Kay Nimmo (ITRI/iTSCi Governance Committee) and Mussadiq Hamid Merican (Malaysia Smelting Corporation) as well as representatives of local society/organisations such as Enough, CENADEP and the ICGLR. It also offered some of the CFTI participants the opportunity to meet for the first time the miners and co-operatives, negociants and exporter who are all an important part of the CFTI supply chain. Delegates were joined by Joseph Ikoli, Directeur de Cabinet Adjoint du Ministre des Mines, who was there to convey the commitment of the Congolese Government to ensuring the success of the CFTI.

The situation at the mine site has improved substantially in a short time. At the start of the project under the de-facto embargo less than 100 diggers were registered to operate at the mine, but in February co-operatives recorded 1,294 artisanal miners, plus other associated service providers and traders. Moreover, the earning potential of those miners has more than doubled from USD 2 to USD 4 to 6 per kilo, depending on the tin content of the ore and the world metal price.

The full press release can be found here.

Progress of the CFTI can also be followed on the project website.