International nonprofit organization Pact, AOC International (Europe) B.V. and MMD-Monitors & Displays Nederland B.V. (Philips Monitors), leaders in the global monitor market, announce a new partnership to enhance formalization and governance of the artisanal and small-scale mining sector in North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) provides an important livelihood in DRC. An estimated 2 million people directly depend on ASM activities across the country, mining vital minerals for the world’s electronic devices and green technology that result in significant contributions to the national and global economies.

“A sustainable supply chain is fundamental for us as a global manufacturer and we want to be transparent in our operations when it comes to the use of conflict minerals. We acknowledge it as our duty to not only support our direct suppliers but also our indirect suppliers. This is why we decided to collaborate with Pact. This partnership gives us the opportunity to be involved in the local projects and to make a tangible contribution to the communities. We are now also able to identify and address risks and gaps to protect artisanal miners, mining cooperatives and state mining services so that they are able to develop a sustainable future,” said Thomas Schade, Vice President Europe of AOC & MMD.

With AOC & MMD’s support, Pact will train local mining stakeholders, including artisanal miners, mining cooperatives and state mining services, on DRC’s new Mining Code and Regulations on ASM that were adopted in 2018. The training will help mining communities know their rights; understand issues and challenges with mining in conflict affected and high-risk areas, and possible implications for miners’ security and human rights; make informed decisions on legal requirements to engage in mining; and follow the rules and avoid fines. In addition to raising awareness on governance of the sector, the partnership will also focus on improving occupational health and safety (OHS) at mine sites. ASM involves the manual extraction of minerals using rudimentary tools and techniques. It is often carried out informally, with little geological knowledge and scant attention paid to mine management or health and safety. These mines often present a wide range of physical hazards to workers that compromise their safety and wellbeing.

Working with local mining cooperatives, Pact will assess OHS risks at artisanal mine sites and develop mitigation measures, in cooperation with the cooperatives’ leadership, concession owner and state services. Pact will also train mine managers, team leaders, cooperatives and government agents on OHS using a ‘train the trainers’ approach. This type of approach creates a cadre of people who can then pass the skills on to others, increasing the project’s effectiveness and sustainably.

According to Karen Hayes, Vice President of Environment, Energy & Extractives at Pact, “Ensuring that artisanal miners understand the Mining Code and Regulations is a crucial step in enabling them to exercise their rights as well as to fulfil their responsibilities. Lack of information about the legal framework leads to miners being disenfranchised and vulnerable. Our partnership with AOC & MMD aims to address this fundamental gap. Knowledge of the law, coupled with practical training on improving mining standards and safety, will make an important contribution to formalization of the ASM sector and improving the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people.”