Working with USAID to support responsible sourcing efforts in the DRC
BSP in partnership with USAID
Since 2014 the Better Sourcing Program (BSP) has received funding from and been an implementation partner of USAID through the CBRMT project. BSP is implementing its due diligence systems to improve transparency in mineral supply chains in the provinces of Maniema and South Kivu, and supporting ASM communities and the Government of DRC to profit from its mineral wealth.
Maniema and South Kivu are challenging business environments. Maniema, in the centre-East of the country, is one of the most remote provinces in DRC. Roads are practically non-existent and a 300-km journey can take up to 10 hours.
South Kivu, located in the East along the borders of Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, is one of the provinces most severely affected by the two Congo wars. Mining here is a particularly important economic activity, but it is further tainted by suspicions of minerals smuggled into neighbouring countries.
On a typical day, miners here walk or cycle several miles, carrying a shovel and a plastic container. They spend the day digging for minerals and washing them in a nearby creek, before finding a local trading intermediary to sell them to. This chain of intermediaries goes a long way before the minerals reach the final buyer, making it virtually impossible for the final buyer to know where those minerals came from and the conditions under which they were extracted.
This prevents the final buyer from meeting the international requirements to sell them into international conflict-free markets, forcing many ASM communities to accept prices below the market price offered by grey market operators.
BSP worked with USAID to implement a due diligence system and shine a light on every stage of the mining process in Maniema and South Kivu.
Our local agents met directly with the ASM operators and local Government representatives to implement our technology-based communication solution. BSP agents conducted a Supply Chain Evaluation, determining production feasibility, supply chain risks and conducting KYC on the supply chain participants.
BSP then trained local mining authorities on how to use BSP’s electronic traceability system, which consists of a barcoded tag, a scanner, and a laptop, preventing the disappearance or tampering of bags, and legitimising the production for each individual miner.
BSP’s agents subsequently deployed BSP’s Information Management System (IMS), using a smartphone based technology solution to assess and continually monitor risks in real-time. The IMS prevented the presence of conflict financing, child labour, corruption and various other responsible sourcing relevant indicators in the BSP assured trading chains, which are key international responsible sourcing expectations enshrined in the Better Sourcing standard.
All of the data was fed live to a database, allowing for risk mitigation to occur prior to export into international conflict-free markets.
The combination of local expertise and technology enabled the production and communication of unprecedented levels of data on every stage of the supply chain. BSP’s due diligence system also enabled all participants in the trading chain to remain abreast of developments and to work together to address incidents and mitigate risks prior to export. The first fully international legislations and market expectations compliant from our project in Maniema is scheduled to occur before the end of April 2017, providing international buyers with the confidence to engage with ASM operators in the DRC. Upon this achievement, BSP will be scaled and replicated across further mine sites in the country.