Quebec City, 30 November 2016 - GeoTraceability has launched a groundbreaking traceability project for the artisanal mining sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – delivering real-time data to support the delivery of conflict-free minerals to the global market.
The new system traces minerals from individual mine sites in the Maniema Province in the eastern part of the DRC to the point of export. Using a cloud-based database, information can be monitored in real-time.
Important for the industry, the traceability system has been adapted to allow stakeholders to comply with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas and the Chain of Custody requirements from the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Regional Certification Mechanism which itself is compliant with the OECD guidance. Deployment of the GeoTraceability system also supports information sharing with other initiatives, including the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative’s (CFSI) Conflict-Free Smelter audit program.
Momen Elleuch, Project Manager for GeoTraceability, commented: “The availability of our system will provide a much-needed option for advanced traceability services in the mining and minerals trade sector, increasing the amount of choice for local operators - a critical component of a healthy market place.”
GeoTraceability’s traceability system is implemented in combination with the Better Sourcing Program (BSP), which provides due diligence and assurance that the minerals being traced are sourced conflict-free. BSP complements the traceability system by digitally reporting real-time information on incidents and risks along the supply chain and delivering effective capacity building in support of upstream stakeholders.
Additionally, as part of this project, BSP aims to create alternative economic opportunities for women and other vulnerable community members based in communities surrounding the pilot mining areas. BSP’s support mechanism also offers an opportunity to expand better-controlled artisanal mining activities. This has the potential to increase tax incomes for the Maniema Provincial Government, and subsequently raise the level of local investment.
According to BSP’s Project Manager in DRC, Robert Bitumba: “The Maniema province is free of conflict and offers great opportunities for the procurement of minerals”. Beyond compliance, Bitumba sees great value in electronic traceability: “It has the potential to restore the confidence of international buyers and investors by providing more transparent access to information on local artisanal mining circumstances.”
Bitumba concluded: “For peace to last and communities to thrive, international partners must engage and develop economic opportunities.”
For this pilot project, specific BSP-supported mines were selected to create a closed-pipe supply chain for testing these advanced traceability and due diligence options. This was done in collaboration with exporter Belair African Metals.
Lance Hooper, CEO of Belair commented: “GeoTraceability provides us with data collection and data sharing systems which support us in meeting our conflict free traceability obligations. Their intuitive cloud-based platform streamlines data sharing with all downstream participants in the mineral supply chain.”
“Beyond capturing data related to traceability,” Hooper continued, “GeoTraceability's system also provides the flexibility to collect additional information that will assist with the geological understanding of our tin and tantalum concessions in Maniema.”
The pilot project has been made possible with support from the International Organization for Migration and USAID/DRC as part of the USAID-funded Responsible Minerals Trade Program.
Better Sourcing Program (Better Sourcing, BSP) is an independent mineral supply chain support program providing a framework for sustainable procurement of mineral resources from Central Africa. BSP’s core objective is to stimulate procurement from, and associated investment in areas where mining could significantly contribute to local development, by ensuring compliance of these minerals with regulation- and reputation-driven expectations from international stakeholders. BSP implementation involves strict operationalization of the OECD due diligence guidelines, conformance of Better Sourcing supply chains to smelter-level audit expectations such as the Conflict-Free Smelter Program (CFSP) Audit Protocol, and compliance with ICGLR certification standards.
For more information, go to: www.bsp-assurance.com
Belair Maniema Corp. is a private Canadian company focused on tin, tantalum and tungsten (3T) projects in Africa. The company has a 100% interest in Belair African Metals sarl, a commodity trading platform that specializes in sourcing conflict free minerals from qualified artisanal and small-scale mine sites. The company also has a 65% joint venture interest in Belair Maniema sarl which holds 3T mineral concessions in Maniema province, Democratic Republic of Congo.
For more information, go to: www.belair.cd
GeoTraceability is a market innovator in providing technology solutions to enhance supply chain visibility and transparency. GeoTraceability can be defined as the ability to link geographical information to traceability information, all along value and supply chains. GeoTraceability is currently operational in Africa, Asia and Latin America providing data collection and traceability solutions in multiple commodities.
For more information, go to: www.geotraceability.com
Hélène Helbig de Balzac, Program Manager, BSP, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lance Hooper, CEO, Belair, email@example.com
Chelsea Bruce Lockhart, Communications Strategist, GeoTraceability, firstname.lastname@example.org