***Special note*** ITSCI is urgently seeking support including from donors, international institutions and downstream industry, to maintain its operations during the Covid-19 crisis. Covid is directly affecting the livelihoods, health and long-term outcomes of artisanal and small-scale mining communities where ITSCI operates. For more information and to contribute, please visit ITSCI's website.
An estimated 30-50 million of the world’s men, women and children depend on Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) for their livelihood. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the World Bank has estimated that approximately 2 million people rely on ASM to make a living. The work is often done informally and in remote areas, in hazardous conditions with little access to social services, and often subject to violence and predatory behaviour.
Growing international awareness prompted the United States to adopt section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Act that requests US companies to carry out proper due diligence processes for their supply chain when sourcing tin, tantalum and tungsten (3Ts) from the DRC or neighbouring countries. Through this due diligence, companies also ensure that their sourcing practices do not fuel conflict in the Great Lakes Region. The ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative (ITSCI) program was set up to aid companies better respond to these obligations.
To enhance the achievements and significant impact of the ITSCI program, the Scaling Up ITSCI project was put in place and is now helping secure livelihoods of 3T miners by bringing formalization to the artisanal sector and increasing transparency and best practice in the extraction and trade of minerals from the Great Lakes Region in Africa.
The ITSCI Field Process
ITSCI (the ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative) is part of a traceability and due diligence program designed to address concerns over 'conflict minerals' such as tin, tantalum and tungsten from the Democratic Republic of Congo and adjoining countries. The ITSCI system was established by ITRI (now called the International Tin Association) and T.I.C, who represent the Governance Committee for the ITSCI program.
The ITSCI system allows more than 50,000 miners to access markets for their tin, tantalum and tungsten, which are used in smartphones, tablets and other products, notably in the electronics industry. The system assists companies in complying with national and international regulations. It is implemented by governments, is largely self-funded by the industry and is monitored by civil society and independent auditors.
The following scheme shows a simplified version of the ITSCI program at the field level, however there are more components to the overall program (including an audit of participating companies and a data management system). For more information, please visit www.pactworld.org/mining and www.itsci.org.
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How we monitor
Mines and mineral transport routes are vetted to ensure they are conflict free. *A variety of stakeholders are involved, including government officials, donors and participating NGOs.
Mines are integrated into the iTSCi system.
Minerals are produced, washed and put into bags.
A government official weighs and tags the bags and then records the data to start the traceability process.
Minerals are sold to traders who further process the minerals to achieve better quality.
A government official weighs a second time to ensure that minerals were not smuggled in during the process. Minerals are re-bagged and re-tagged.
Minerals are sold to exporting companies and delivered to their processing plant.
A government official weighs the bags a third time and records the data to ensure no infiltration occurred during transport.
Minerals are processed and stored in large containers appropriate for export (steel gallon drums, large bags, etc).
Minerals are exported with their tags and all legal documentation required by national authorities. *The entire bag and tag system is monitored by Pact as well as by civil society organizations. If incidents occur on the supply chain, they are recorded and mitigated to comply with national and international regulations.
Smelter confirms mineral weight and records the data, storing the tags for audit purposes. Smelter processes minerals into metal.
The smelter sells the processed metals on the international market where manufacturers purchase them for use in devices, such as smart phones, computer chips, and medical devices.
Manufacturers produce conflict-free product for consumers for purchase.
Moving Beyond Conflict
Seeking to add social value to the ITSCI system through development and governance programs.