RCS Global and Responsible Minerals Initiative Expand Better Mining Programme

London, Alexandria, 16th September 2021. The continued partnership between RCS Global Group and the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) has resulted in an expansion of the Better Mining programme, further scaling assurance and improvement across artisanal and small-scale (ASM) mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 


The Better Mining Programme includes 30+ tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold ASM sites and has also scaled its tech-enabled on-the-ground risk monitoring and assurance services to eight additional cobalt-copper sites in the DRC in partnership with RMI, since January 2020. On all sites combined, the Better Mining program serves around 33,000 ASM miners in the African Great Lakes Region. 

Each ASM site covered by Better Mining is assessed and monitored against the requirements of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance and seven additional ESG risk categories, which were developed together with the RMI into a risk reporting framework that has undergone public consultation as part of a three-year development process. Drawing on 2021 data for cobalt, the four most significant ASM risk areas are Working conditions/ Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), followed by Legality risks, Environmental risks, and Human Rights risks (including child labour). 

In response to the identified risks, Better Mining has as of 1 July 2021 issued 809 corrective actions, through which it assigns practical corrective actions to local stakeholders for implementation.

Corrective actions are diverse and tailored to the observed risks. Examples include but are not limited to efforts strengthening the application of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance, child labour sensitisation campaigns, human rights training for security actors, or the closure of unsafe pits.  

The Better Mining monitoring process tracks the implementation of corrective actions and despite the very challenging implementation environment, good progress is evident.

For example, by Q2 of 2021, 77 percent of recommended corrective actions in cobalt-copper have been successfully implemented or are in progress. 

Site monitoring data is provided to buyers, smelters & refiners, and downstream users to enhance their capacity to implement effective due diligence. Crucially, the program also strengthens connections between the downstream and the upstream in the ASM supply chain. 

This partnership’s long-term objective is to achieve broad-based systemic improvement and to build a picture of trends in conditions across the sector to support development and ASM formalisation initiatives and policies that improve the livelihoods of those who work in or are impacted by ASM.

Better Mining is applicable to any ASM-mined material and any ASM context in the world. By taking a mineral, risk, and standard-agnostic approach, the program can be adapted easily to the requirements set by buyers and stakeholders in each raw material sector. 

Later this year, a report is planned for publication, explaining the implementation and analysing the improvements generated through the Better Mining program. The report represents a quantitative, data-backed study of risks, incidents, and overall conditions at multiple ASM mining sites – research only possible due to the continual, structured, and consistent risk and incident data generated at sites where Better Mining operates.  

“Better Mining is creating an unprecedented window of transparency in the most challenging part of the raw materials sector. This significantly betters smelter and refiners’ capacity to implement enhanced due diligence on the sources of their supply, which is at the very core of OECD aligned responsible sourcing. For global OEMs ambition for ethical supply chains, this is a really strong value add”

says Dr. Nicholas Garrett, CEO of RCS Global Group

“Upstream supply chain due diligence is an important aspect of responsible sourcing. The independent monitoring, data collection and reporting services provided by Better Mining improve visibility of mine site conditions, allowing supply chain stakeholders greater insight into the conditions under which minerals are extracted. The RMI is pleased to support and help scale programs that contribute to responsible ASM production”

Leah Butler, Vice President of Responsible Sourcing, Responsible Business Alliance

For more information on the Better Mining program, contact Mattis Henning, RCS Global Group, at mattis@rcsglobal.com or Alex Cech, Responsible Minerals Initiative, at acech@responsiblebusiness.org.

About RCS Global Group
RCS Global Group (RCS Global) is the leading Supply Chain Mapping, Responsible Sourcing, Responsible Mining, ESG Performance and Traceability services provider. With a core focus on natural resources value chains, at all tiers of the value chain, RCS Global advances its client and partners’ continuous improvement goals through data-generating assurance efforts and data-driven technical solutions. RCS Global implements the Better Mining program in partnership with global industry. For more information, visit 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 400 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 all minerals/metals. The RMI runs regular workshops on responsible sourcing issues and contributes to policy development with civil society organizations and governments. For more information, visit ResponsibleMineralsInitiative.org

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