iTSCi has announced the second extension of the conflict-free mineral traceability and due diligence Programme into Punia and Kasese in the northern area of Maniema Province, DRC; an area approximately 140 miles west of Goma. While this is a very remote location, making the project operation particularly challenging, it is also an important area with significant production potential as well as a significant economic need for a mineral based economy. Field staff and iTSCi managers have had to utilise all their previous experience and expertise to achieve this success and on Saturday, 8th February 2014, Punia was added to the ever growing number of iTSCi sites with the first tag applied by the Provincial Minister of Mines of Maniema on a bag of 9.5 kg of cassiterite produced by Mr Bomanga a local miner. The iTSCi team moved on directly from Punia to Kasese to also launch the production of conflict-free minerals from that area.
The Programme was first introduced into Maniema in December 2012, and after a slow start established a revived trade of significant quantities of conflict-free minerals from Kalima and Kailo. Local stakeholders in the community and industry requested an urgent extension to the northern areas of Punia and Kasese and this has been possible as minimal required funding from industry partners committed to sector development became available. The Provincial Government in Maniema has also been particularly supportive of the Programme and has itself taken important steps to ensure benefits of a revived mineral trade are shared among the community by returning a share of tax to the areas where the mineral has been produced with an ever growing economic multiplier effect. The same benefits are expected to extend to the newly added northern mining areas.