Al Jazeera’s recent broadcast in their Fault Lines series ‘Conflicted: The Fight Over Congo’s Minerals’ debates the impacts of campaign groups action leading to the Dodd Frank act, the questionable benefits for the DRC, and the difficult position of companies and industry associations working to find reasonable ways forward.
Fault Lines refers obliquely to work of the iTSCi Programme but has not made any use of an interview or statistics we provided, and did not request any data on the issues finally reported in the broadcast. This lack of verification impacts the overall credibility of the report in which the true story is also obscured by the careless use of terms such as certification, tagging, due diligence, legality and validation which are not interchangeable.
Suggestions that recorded production at the Nyabibwe/Kalimbi mine is significantly higher than reality due to mineral being added from another mine (Numbi) are not borne out by local information or data showing no change in reported production of one mine when the second was integrated into iTSCi. Claims that only 10% of the potential production from artisanal mining in the DRC is exported legally, implying blame on iTSCi for slow progress, are inaccurate since iTSCi includes 100% of accessible officially validated 3T mine sites in DRC, and 87% of DRC cassiterite in 2014. We are unable to locate any details of claimed seizures of 52 tonnes of mineral by the South Kivu anti-fraud commission although seizure of a smaller tonnage is well known.
Descriptions of our risk identification and management process involving communities, authorities, companies and other stakeholders is also entirely omitted from the broadcast which adds to the misleading picture of fraudulent purchase of 2 Rwandan tags from a company already being investigated for such activity.
While no system can be perfect, iTSCi has been highly successful in developing a responsible global upstream supply chain in which large numbers of known participants avoid funding armed groups through the application of assisted due diligence. We welcome fact based criticism that helps drive further improvements but are concerned by expectations for total solutions to illegality and risk which contribute to further harm to the African region as a whole. Further details are available here