The iTSCi programme has enabled mining regulatory authorities in the DRC to be more efficient, participating in training, tracking minerals and facilitating due dili-gence on minerals from the mine to export. In the Province of Maniema, 91 mines are included in the iTSCi system, which is funded by industry, implemented by gov-ernment, and monitored by civil society. The government plays a pivotal role in iTSCi, starting with SAESSCAM, the mining agency responsible for artisanal mining activities whose agents weigh and tag bags of minerals, and record the corre-sponding information, including origin, weight, grade, date, method of extraction, and tag number.
The work of SAESSCAM is critical to tracking minerals and monitoring the condi-tions of their production and trade to ensure they are conflict-free and do not contribute to human rights abuses. However, SAESSCAM has limited financial and human resources, which poses challenges to implementation of the iTSCi system. In Maniema where many mines are located in remote areas, more agents were needed to cover all iTSCi mine sites, and the local stakeholder committees found a solution by implementing an internship programme. Discussion of issues among stakeholders is fundamental to iTSCi implementation and the programme facili-tates meetings of state services, civil society, and private company representa-tives, in all implementation areas.
Currently, 10 interns have been recruited and trained by both SAESSCAM and iTSCi, are receiving a monthly stipend from SAESSCAM, and working under close supervision of more experienced agents and iTSCI staff visiting mine sites, they now contribute to the agency’s effectiveness while advancing their own professional development.
“I am extremely satisfied with the work of the interns” said Laurent Kituma, head of the office in Kalima. “Their addition was crucial to improving the quality of our work and allowed us to address traders’ concerns” he added. Traders echoed this positive feed-back on the internship solution “Thanks to the additional staff, minerals leave the mine site quickly. We do not need to await SAESSCAM agents or go to the SAESSCAM office in Kalima to ask for an agent to tag minerals” explained Elias Tindi, president of the negotiant’s association. This pilot initiative is now being adopted elsewhere in Maniema.
The recruitment of regular agents would be the ideal long term option but internships are a positive development and working well, demonstrating how discussion among local actors can not only resolve conflict related risks but can also find solutions to other challenges. iTSCi’s field implementation partner Pact is also implementing a PROMINES-funded project to strengthen overall SAESSCAM capacities, laying the groundwork for what will hopefully be continued improvements in the agency’s performance in the coming year.