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DR-Congo civil society’s memorandum in regard to the protocol of agreement between the ministry of mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo and ITRI with respect to ITRI’s february 17th 2012 initiative for the tin supply chain (itsci)

The text below is the main paper content translated in English. The Memorandum was written in French and can be downloaded through this link Mémorandum Sociv relatif au protocole ITRI-RDC

Excellency Minister,

May we remind you that on February 17, 2012, a Memorandum of understanding has been agreed between the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo through your Ministry and ITRI LTD  as regards the ITRI / iTSCi initiative for a responsible tin supply chain ( iTSCi ). Four years later, in 2016, the parties were in Santa Clara, California, the USA to assess its implementation of it. However, it has been noted that there were several failures in this process, according to the delegates of the parties, which up until now have been the concern and attention of civil society organizations.

Therefore, we, civil society organizations working in the resource sector, are writing this Memorandum to express our regret at the failures in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry Mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo and ITRI LTD regarding the ITRI Initiative for the tin supply chain (ITSCI) in our country, the Democratic Republic of Congo as commitments made in Santa Clara.

Among these failures noted related to the Memorandum of Understanding we have note:

  1. Small areas covered by ITRI /iTSCistaff;
  2. Failure in establishing effectively monitoring committees at each mine site;
  3. Failure in holdingquarterly assessment meetings intended to bring together all stakeholders;
  4. Failure in implementing the commitment to training and skill transfer to Mining and SAEMAPE officers.

 

We also express our indignation at the failure in the implementation of commitments made following the assessment of the iTSCi activities program carried out in Santa Clara (United States) on 9-11 November 2016 where the The representative of the Congolese Government had argued that ” the high Levy rate in force in the DRC is a major incentive in the mineral fraud”. This meeting in which have participated the Ministry of Mines of the DRC, the Mining Industry / Chamber of Mines of the DRC, ITRI LTD and the American NGO Pact, seven commitments regarding lowering the levy rate for the 3Ts were made, including:

  1. Alignment of thelevy rateof North Kivu, South Kivu and Maniema Coltan with that of Rwanda;
  2. Alignment of the DRC Wolframite Levy rate with that of Rwanda;
  3. For Cassiterite, gradual Levy rate lowering from USD 480 per ton to USD 420 per tonne in March 2017 and USD 380 from 2018.

 

 

For 2019, a harmonized Levy rate was planned for the entire DRC’s national territory, even for the entire the ICGLR area.

 

However, it is deplorable that two years later, despite the increase in 3T’s production, these commitments have not begun to be materialized due to the lack of will from ITRI / iTSCi  which is contrary to the commitments made in Santa Clara. Furthermore, there are strong regional disparities between the Levy rate applied in the DRC and that applied in neighboring countries. For example, ITRI / iTSCi charges $ 180 / ton for cassiterite in Rwanda, compared with $ 480 / ton in the Forma-Kivu. Regarding Coltan, it charges 300 USD / ton in Rwanda vs more than 600 USD in the former-Kivu.

This imbalance does not only impoverishes artisanal miners who pay the cost of traceability, but also promotes 3T minerals fraud and smuggling and affects the DRC’s economy. This is evidenced by numerous cases of fraud reported by CEEC and numerous videos posted on YouTube relating the cases of minerals fraud in both North Kivu and South Kivu, which illustrate the low efficiency of this traceability scheme.

In addition, the audit performed by iTSCi does not comply with ICGLR standards. The Regional Certification Mechanism (RCM) mandates the ICGLR Audit Committee to sponsor the audits. The audit carried out by iTSCi is not only independent since the auditor is not hired by a third party, but also this audit duplicates the ICGLR scheme, making the costs uselessly higher.

Taking into consideration:

  1. The changing context (Law No. 18/001 of 09 March 2018 amending and supplementing Law No. 007/2002 of 11 July 2002 on the Mining Code), the adoption of the National Sectoral Strategy for the Fight Against Child Presence at Mines, the increased production in 3T minerals in South Kivu from 2016 to 2017 (57% cassiterite, 79.5% Coltan, 24.5% wolframite, ….), the Increased needs for 3T minerals at the international market;
  2. The lack of will of ITRI /iTSCiin the implementation of the commitments made in Santa Clara;
  3. The non-compliance with the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding as mentioned previously, specifically in terms of the transfer of skills that sometimes results in failures in minerals labeling;
  4. The last stance expressed by Rwanda at the 59th General Assembly ofTantalum-Niobium International Study Center (ICT) held in Kigali on 14-17 October 2018, which spoke out the high costs of this mechanism and demanded to replace it by the national traceability mechanisms;
  5. The recommendations of Civil Society meeting held in Goma on 05-06 July 2018 relating to theimplementation of national traceability mechanisms, at the workshop on initiatives for responsible supply chains of minerals from conflicts or high-risk zones and their impact on communities;
  6. Failure to comply with the ICGLR Regional Certification Mechanism by creating a parallel scheme;

In light of the above, Civil Society therefore considers it legitimate, opportune and imperative to inform you, hereby, of the following recommendations:

  1. To convene an urgent meeting bringing together all the parties, including Civil Society of the sector, CEE / Provincial Mines and mining Cooperatives in order to assess without favor and for the sake of the Republic, the Agreement binding the Democratic Republic Congo to ITRI and all other commitments made in theimplementationof the iTSCi Program ;
  2. To ask all 3T exporters to send you a report on all charges paid to ITSCI;
  3. To ask all Exporters to record levies paid to ITRI / ITSCI (Levy) per batch of minerals from March 2017 up to date in order to identify undue taxes arising from ITRI’s failure to implement its own commitments;
  4. To ask all 3T exporters to undergo the ICGLR Audit and instead of the iTSCi audit since it does not comply with the spirit and letter of the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (RIRN) signed by the Heads of State of the Region and Governments on December 15, 2010 through the Lusaka Declaration;
  5. To ask ITRI to remove the Audit charges from payments required to the Exporters.
  6. To ask ITRI to refund the undue levies mentioned above to the appropriate entity and pay them to the BasketFund;
  7. To establish incentives for the establishment / installation of smelters at the provincial level;
  8. To require actors in the chain to scrupulously comply with the rules /requirements in the implementation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for responsible supply chains as domesticated in the Congolese Mining Code.

 

Written in Bukavu-Goma-Kindu-Kinshasa-Kolwezi-Lubumbashi on 16 November 2018

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