Better Mining ASM monitoring program successfully scales, announces partnerships

2020-08-14
  • Better Mining delivers continual monitoring data from ASM mining sites in the DRC, which supports responsible sourcing improvements in the sector
  • The Better Mining monitoring program will be extended at its Kasulo and Kamilombe sites, and expanded to new sites near Likasi
  • The monitoring program will also now partner with the Fair Cobalt Alliance and support their implementation of local improvement measures at ASM mines

Kolwezi, 13 August 2020

RCS Global Group and the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) have announced the expansion of the Better Mining artisanal and small-scale mine (ASM) monitoring program to additional cobalt and copper mine sites in the Lualaba province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The expansion will begin with the immediate addition of a mine site near Likasi followed by a fifth site currently under evaluation. Better Mining and the RMI aim to scale the program to 12 sites across the DRC by 2023.

The agreement signals the next phase in the expansion of the Better Mining program, which is seen as a critical pillar in the formalisation of ASM mining and eventual acceptance of ASM material on global metals markets.

An agreement has also been reached to extend Better Mining’s partnership with Huayou Cobalt, China’s largest cobalt refiner, to continue monitoring the Kasulo and Kamilombe mine sites for a further two years. The extension will include partnerships for the implementation of local improvement measures.

In a further move, Better Mining has announced that it will be coordinating its efforts with the Fair Cobalt Alliance, a supply chain action platform founded by Huayou Cobalt, Fairphone, Signify and the Impact Facility, which is beginning its technical work to improve working conditions at artisanal mining sites informed by Better Mining data.

Implemented at cobalt, copper and 3TG ASM sites in the DRC, the extension of the partnership with Huayou Cobalt and the expansion to further sites is the latest positive milestone for the Better Mining program, which is actively supported by key market actors including Volvo Cars and other downstream brands.

Better Mining assesses and continually monitors risks and impacts on ASM mine sites in alignment with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance and other responsible sourcing criteria. The data is delivered through agents permanently stationed at mines sites, equipped with mobile digital monitoring tools.

At the same time as supporting the expansion of the Better Mining Program, the RMI is working with stakeholders to define market acceptance for responsibly produced ASM cobalt, and ensure those expectations are integrated into standards applicable to cobalt producers and refiners as well as embedded in guidance and processes applicable to downstream companies. Cobalt supply chain actors can benefit from the presence of independent monitoring and the resulting data at ASM sites to assist with their responsible procurement decisions.

Quotes:

Bryce Lee, Director of CSR at Huayou Cobalt:
“Huayou Cobalt remains committed to supporting the development of a formalised ASM cobalt sector in the DRC where miners who are dependent on this work for their livelihoods can work safely and securely. Our collaboration with Better Mining is one of the key pillars in this mission, we look forward to continuing our engagement with the program.”

Leah Butler, Vice President, Responsible Business Alliance:
“The RMI is committed to supporting responsible ASM cobalt production so that it is recognized by the market and contributes positively to local communities. The independent site monitoring and reporting services provided by Better Mining is a crucial component of this process that we are pleased to scale with the support of RMI members and other stakeholders.”

RCS Global Group Managing Director, Ferdinand Maubrey:
“Huayou Cobalt were one of our foundational partners when Better Mining began in 2018. Two years on, we are delighted that the company will continue to support our work in improving the ASM cobalt sector.

“Supporting formalisation of ASM in the DRC and allowing for a way for responsibly produced ASM cobalt to enter international supply chains will ensure that the livelihoods of the people dependant on ASM is maintained while respecting human rights and implementing better practice. We are grateful for the support of key supply chain actors to continue on this journey.”

Interested stakeholders should contact Leah Butler butler@responsiblebusiness.org and Nicholas Garrett nicholas@rcsglobal.com, +447727691558.

About RCS Global Group

RCS Global Group is the global market leader in responsible sourcing audit and advisory products. RCS Global offers our global clients full source to store assurance services covering production, trade and transformation through offices at every stage of the raw materials supply chain. RCS Global Group creates positive impact by offering companies the knowledge and tools to act more responsibly, also allowing them to measure, demonstrate and report on their own – and their supply chains’ – compliance and continuous improvement over time.

With a core focus in battery raw materials, the Group has progressively expanded its reach into other natural resources and industrial materials. Clients include the world’s leading automotive and electronics brands and the Group is regularly featured in the media and at industry conferences and in public forums. For more information, visit www.rcsglobal.com

About the Responsible Minerals Initiative

The Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) is an initiative of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA). The RMI is a multi-industry initiative with more than 380 member companies. Its members contribute to the development and international uptake of a range of tools and resources focused on minerals supply chain due diligence, including independent third-party audit programs for

smelters, Minerals Reporting Templates, supply chain risk assessment tools, Country of Origin data, and guidance documents on responsible sourcing of tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold, cobalt, and mica. The RMI runs regular workshops on responsible sourcing issues and contributes to policy development with civil society organizations and governments. For more information, visit http://www.responsiblemineralsinitiative.org

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