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Starting in 2000, public awareness of a link between minerals and conflict in Central Africa started to grow. Campaigns to stir consumer activism and responsible supply chain management focused particularly on consumer electronics. Conscious of this growing concern around responsible mineral sourcing, the international tin industry association, ITRI, started work on developing a mechanism to create conflict-free supply chains from Central Africa as early as 2008. This became all the more urgent in 2010 with the advent of the Dodd Frank Act, Section 1502, which requires all publicly-traded US companies using tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold to determine if they were sourcing from Central Africa and, if so, to ensure that their supply chains are conflict free.

In 2010, ITRI invited Pact, an international NGO with a long history of working in the mining sector in the DRC, to join support field implementation activities of this new system. The ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi) is a comprehensive due diligence, risk assessment and mineral traceability system which is independently audited and which meets all the standards required by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Conflict Free Smelter audit process. The system was developed in partnership with the governments of the Great Lakes Region and is operated in partnership with them.

Today, iTSCi includes more than 865 active conflict-free mine sites across Africa’s Great Lakes Region. These mines produce 17,000 tonnes of tin, tantalum and tungsten concentrate each year. Without this system in place, tens of thousands of miners would be unable to work as they could not sell their minerals on the international market. The minerals move along the supply chain, closely watched from mines to export by national governments and independent monitors, with up to 35,000 transactions per week recorded by government officials. At the end of the pipeline, multinational companies purchase metals that comply with international regulations.

Mine baseline studies are carried out by Pact and local partners to examine and record all aspects of the mine’s operations, the actors involved, and its security status in order to ensure they are suitable to enter into the iTSCi system. Activities at the mine sites and upon the point of export are closely monitored and if any risks are identified, incident reports are opened and risks are mitigated. Government agents weigh, tag and record details of all materials at multiple points along the supply chain to make sure that no illegal materials enter the system, with monitoring by Pact and local partners. Legal revenues are generated to the states, which, for the first time, have accurate statistics on their mineral sectors.

Working in partnership with local governments, corporations, miners, mineral traders, international stakeholders and local communities, Pact helps to safeguard the validity of the system ensure that mines and mineral trading routes are free from conflict and are not connected to human rights abuses. iTSCi also supports local government in the formalization of the mining sector, including training staff, providing technical assistance, distributing project materials, and collecting data for transfer into the international system for traceability.

The iTSCi system delivers minerals into a conflict-free supply chain from which companies all over the world source responsible minerals for their products.

Social Results:
  • Over 865 active mines in Central Africa operating free from any presence of armed group or human rights abuses

  • Livelihoods of over 67,000 artisanal miners secured

  • 38 Multi-stakeholder forums established and meeting regularly to monitor implementation of traceability and all associated issues such as security, taxation and human rights

  • 40 trainings on due diligence organized in 2015 for government agents, companies and local NGO staff

  • Over 3,000 children reached as part of a campaign to prevent child labor in mining

  • New curriculum and training for health and safety for artisanal miners underway

  • New curriculum and initiative for literacy, numeracy and savings for artisanal miners underway

  • Partnership with international development agencies – both bilateral (Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and multilateral (World Bank, Development Bank of Southern Africa) – who see responsible business as a cornerstone of development and security

Business Results:
  • More than 250 companies have become members of the iTSCi system in order to source conflict free minerals from the Great Lakes Region

  • This includes downstream companies and OEMs: NEC TOKIN, Motorola Solutions, Boeing, BlackBerry, Qualcomm, Apple, Intel, Motorola Mobility, Microsoft, ABB, Iiyama Benelux

  • 160+ of these companies are local business operations in Central Africa, all working to meet OECD standards and to operate responsibly and transparently in accordance with supply chain requirements

  • More than 17,000 tonnes of conflict-free minerals exported per annum with associated legal taxes paid to national governments

  • More than 90% of all tin, tantalum and tungsten from the Great Lakes Region now in the iTSCi system

  • More than 50% of global tantalum production in 2014-2015 in the iTSCi system

  • Individual companies have supported specific aspects of responsible sourcing, coupling their sourcing with social priorities such as occupational safety and child labor  (e.g. Boeing, Microsoft, Qualcomm, GE, Apple)



Overview of Mines to Markets
Pact’s Mines to Markets program (“M2M”) assists resource-dependent communities to gain lasting benefits from the more sustainable use of the natural resources around them. Pact takes an integrated approach to its work in the mining sector. We link mining to livelihoods, governance, health, environment, and the strengthening of local, regional and national institutions. The M2M program is currently active in eight countries around the world, working with all scales of mining from industrial operations in major mining zones to individuals in remote sites.

Artisanal and small-scale mining, or “ASM”, typically uses manual labor, simple tools and basic recovery and processing techniques. This work is a profoundly important livelihood for over 30 million men, women and youth around the world who are the world’s ‘hidden suppliers’. Working in difficult and often dangerous conditions, they produce some 60% of the world’s tin, 20% of gold supply, 50% of all diamonds, and almost all the world’s colored precious and semi-precious stones, amongst other minerals such as copper, cobalt and coal. However, ASM is often clandestine, illegal and socially disruptive. Through many years of working closely with artisanal mining communities, Pact has developed an exceptional skill set and a team of experienced practitioners who know how to work sympathetically, effectively and comprehensively with artisanal miners to address the challenges they face.

Our areas of intervention span the full range of needs from: supporting government and regulatory capacity related to ASM; health and safety issues; improved techniques and access to markets; organization and resource rights; conflict management and mitigation; microfinance and debt-management; rights and security for women miners; reducing the Worst Forms of Child Labor in mining; literacy; and alternative livelihoods.

What We Do
Burundi, Congo, Rwanda — Pact works as field and design partners for the ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi), which achieves internationally-accepted traceability and due diligence for ‘conflict-free minerals’ (tin, tantalum, tungsten) that are mined in Burundi, DRC, and Rwanda. This work has directly led to improved livelihoods for over 80,000 miners, over 800 safer mines, reduced illegal trading, strengthened government capacity, and creates a steady supply of conflict-free tin, tantalum, and tungsten to international markets for diverse products. In 2015, we expanded this work by launching a health & safety initiative for iTSCi sites, financial literacy and savings programs for miners, and a program to reduce child labor by a multipronged approach targeting root causes of this complex issue.

In the DRC, with the World Bank, Pact is supporting the government in developing a national policy and action plan for artisanal mining, as well as building the capacity of government agents to manage the sector.

In Burundi, Pact is also working with the World Bank and the Burundian government to track production and taxes in the artisanal mining sector, in coordination with the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). If successful, this will be a ‘global first’ where EITI has successfully been applied to ASM.

Ethiopia — Working in partnership with the Government of Ethiopia, the World Bank, and local organizations, Pact is working in 12 ASM communities in six regional states to: improve health, hygiene, and sanitation; increase and diversify incomes within ASM communities; improve opportunities for women in ASM. Additionally, and in partnership with DFID via KPMG, we are working to achieve better economic, social and environmental sustainability in artisanal gold, opal, and salt mines.

Madagascar — Pact works with the global mining company Rio Tinto to deliver the “Rio Tinto Scholarship Education Program” (RISE). Through this program, Pact is implementing a two year scholarship and educational initiative to improve the level of education of local children and empower them to be competitive in the workforce, thereby strengthening the local economy. The project aims to improve the quality of education, academic performance, and maintain a 95% school retention rate.

Zimbabwe — This multi-year, multi-partner project aims to formalize and integrate large, small and artisanal gold mining and trading in Zimbabwe to increase the contribution of gold to the country’s economy and development. It has two components: promoting coexistence and integration opportunities between large and small-scale producers, and formalizing gold mining and trading.

Colombia — Through its “Somos Tesoro” (We Are Treasure) Project, Pact is working on eliminating child labor in artisanal and small-scale mining in gold and coal sites in Colombia. Child labor in mining is an extremely serious and difficult issue facing many countries worldwide. We are one of the very few organizations globally working at the field level on this issue.

In 2015, Pact’s M2M Signature Initiative has a total of 18 projects underway reaching more than 100,000 artisanal miners in gold, tin, tantalum, tungsten, opal, salt and coal mines in eight countries.