Every day our teams work on ASM sites to collect risk data, implement digital product traceability, build local capacity for better practices, recommend corrective actions and report on the closure of recommended actions, which are implemented by local stakeholders. Our work directly enables and drives the proliferation of better practices along the ASM minerals value chain, as is captured in our annual Impact Report.
Better Mining advances inclusion, builds cooperative capacity for better practices, and reduces risks for communities. This enables a better present and a better future for ASM communities.
Better Mining enables OECD and smelter audit program conformant responsible sourcing of raw materials from CAHRAs.
Better Mining offers data-evidenced improvement of ASM conditions and advances better due diligence practices in the midstream and upstream.
Better Mining accelerates development impact in mining communities through its existing presence and implementation capacity on ASM sites.
Better Mining builds local capacity of technical state services, while delivering ASM sector data to host governments, enabling better ASM sector governance.
Better Mining has an established presence in Rwanda to implement its Upstream Assurance Mechanism on 25 ASM mine sites, 16 of which were active during the reporting period. In the Rwandan implementation context, Better Mining has maintained a good working relationship with the Government of Rwanda through the Rwanda Mining Board (RMB), both at capital level and in the Rwandan subregions where the ASM mines are located.
Better Mining is contributing significantly to the Rwandan Government’s efforts to improve ASM sector governance and to formalise the Rwanda ASM sector.
During the reporting period, Better Mining has validated 25 3T shipments digitally traced from Better Mining monitored ASM mines in Rwanda. An important aspect of this process is fulfilling Government requirements in regularly sharing with the Government of Rwanda traceability reports from Rwandese ASM mines, produced by TRACE, RCS Global’s digital traceability system.
Collaborative, consistent, and constructive engagement with Government at the local and national levels serves as a fundamental part of delivering continuous improvement in the ASM sector. This is because the Government acts as a rule setter, regulator, and through its state services, also as a technical actor in the ASM sector.
The better-informed national Government is about realities in the ASM sector, the more adept it can be at regulating it. The better Government services can technically assist the sector, the more conditions in the sector are likely to improve. And it is continuous improvement of the conditions in the ASM sectors that is our common objective with Governments.
The better Government services can technically assist the sector, the more conditions in the sector are likely to improve. And it is continuous improvement of the conditions in the ASM sectors that is our common objective with Governments.
Mining communities are key stakeholders in the ASM sector and Better Mining now reaches over 55,000 ASM miners, most of whom are members of registered cooperatives, which is the legally recognised organisational form for ASM miners in the DRC Mining Code. ASM cooperatives are a daily interaction partner for Better Mining across the ASM mines in the program. We are committed to enhance cooperatives’ and other ASM actors’ capacity to adopt more responsible practices for them to be able to participate in responsible value chains more meaningfully.
During the past 12 months, 50 capacity-building trainings recommended by Better Mining were delivered across DRC and Rwanda. Of these trainings, 20% were directly delivered or supported by Better Mining. Training and collaboration with local stakeholders via active risk management measures is Better Mining’s preferred approach to build local capacity.
Child labour remains a persistent issue across ASM. In cobalt alone, it is estimated that as many as 35,000 of the DRC’s 255,000 artisanal cobalt miners are children1. This happens even though children younger than 18 years old are not even legally allowed to enter mining areas in the DRC. Extreme poverty in mining communities remains the number one reason for children to engage in such dangerous activities. The Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the child labour situation through school closures and additional economic hardship.
During the reporting period, Better Mining identified 240 cases, of which nearly 50% were classified as Worst Forms of Child Labour (WFCL) across all monitored ASM sites. This shows that Better Mining risk identification and assessment works. Our approach doesn’t apply sticking plasters, we identify and track risks systematically to enable real solutions.
The assurance processes and the mechanisms to ensure responsible sourcing are amplified. Better Mining is an organization that we have worked with for a while now in the DRC and it is our assurance mechanism and feet on the ground. The importance of that is to have an organization that is there on the ground to ensure the different conditions we have set are being met.