The Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) and RCS Global Group (RCS Global) have announced a new strategic partnership to scale their existing efforts to drive continual improvements in the production of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Implemented since 2018, RCS Global’s Better Mining program has generated strong insight, understanding and improvement of the human rights, health and safety conditions on individual cobalt ASM sites. This partnership will enable the program to be expanded to additional mine sites to achieve broad-based systemic impact, and to build a picture of trends in conditions across the sector to support development initiatives and policymaking.
At the mine level, each site assessed and monitored will be supplied with monthly corrective action plans with support given to mine operators to deliver the plans and also drive continual improvements. Site monitoring information will also be provided to buyers and downstream users to enhance their due diligence efforts.
Overall, the partnership will strengthen connections between the downstream and the upstream in the ASM cobalt supply chain. It also marks the next step toward the establishment of a more transparent, robust, and digitized cobalt due diligence system for a part of the DRC’s cobalt sector that accounts for roughly 20 percent of the country’s production.
In the first year the partnership, through the support of RMI members, will seek to expand monitoring to six sites and, with the additional support of other interested parties, to 12 or more sites by 2023. The RMI and RCS Global are working together to prioritize candidate sites and to engage mining operators and relevant government stakeholders about the benefits of the monitoring approach and to seek authorization for onboarding.
Under the partnership, RCS Global will provide critical implementation activities: initial site assessments, permanent on-the-ground monitoring, monthly risk mitigation and corrective action plan development and consultation, and robust data reporting via a digital information management system.
The RMI will provide strategic support, funding, stakeholder engagement, and advice to RMI members and cobalt refiners on how this work supports their due diligence activities.
“The Responsible Minerals Initiative is committed to tackling the significant challenges involved in responsible cobalt production and sourcing,” said Leah Butler, Vice President, Responsible Business Alliance. “We are determined to unlock the demand for responsibly produced ASM cobalt and are excited to take this crucial next step with RCS Global. We encourage companies along the value chain to actively engage in this effort.”
“Mine site monitoring and the implementation of mine level improvements are critical to enhance safety and reduce exploitation in the artisanal mining sector, which remains a key contributor to the global raw materials market,” said Nicholas Garrett, CEO, RCS Global Group. “RCS Global’s implementation track record points to demonstrable improvements of conditions on mine sites where we work, across raw material sectors. We are excited to scale our effort in partnership with the RMI and other interested organizations in support of industry objectives to improve conditions in ASM sectors globally.”
For more information, visit http://www.responsiblemineralsinitiative.org