Many positive impacts to the local community in Maniema Province resulting from implementation of iTSCi and the revival of mineral trade were evident to both project participants and managers during a recent visit. The iTSCi Programme started in Maniema in December 2012 and now, although with production only just beginning to return to pre-embargo levels, benefits to the community can already be seen. The Provincial Government is returning 70% of the tax revenue created by mineral exports to the local territory for use by the community. This month, around US$ 150,000 is expected to be disbursed as a result of trade under the iTSCi Programme and this will be used by the local community for their own development or business plans; for example, construction of a local community hall and guest house, which in itself will help to stimulate more economic activity once it starts to operate.
Company participants in iTSCi are also starting to give back to the community; the Malaysia Smelting Corporation (MSC), buyer of most conflict-free minerals from the area, together with their suppliers, provided and distributed more than 350,000 books, costing around US$150,000 to both primary and secondary schools locally. Infrastructure improvements are also being seen, with new work on road repairs, and increasing levels of traffic on the Maniema to Katanga railway. Mineral exports have created additional demand for use of rail, and plans are underway by mineral trading companies to use this opportunity to bring more goods into this most remote of Provinces and make them available to traders at low margin in order to stimulate the local economy even further.
Kay Nimmo of the iTSCi Governance Committee explained that “iTSCi was originally conceived as a 3 phase Programme, moving from basic collection of existing documents in phase 1, through implementation of new mechanisms for traceability in phase 2, and with further objectives to improve conditions of the mining operators and wider community as phase 3. It’s great to already see companies engaging in this type of phase 3 activity at an early stage of business in Maniema and we hope to encourage the spread of these positive actions more widely across the Programme areas in the coming months.” Further information is available here.