Renewable energy has become one of the most significant ways to retain the country’s resources which leads to high demand for critical minerals, which has never been known. One such mineral that is very high in search is cobalt, which is primarily used in rechargeable batteries, airbags, chemical processing, petroleum, and electric vehicles. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a primary spot for cobalt mining globally, where more than half of the world’s cobalt resource is found. In general, if you look, cobalt as a substance, it causes significant damage to the environment, and cobalt mining in DRC involves human abuse to a greater extent, making it a manufacturer risk.
Hence, in this blog, we will look into issues experienced in cobalt mining and how to resource the same responsibly.
Major Issues Associated With Cobalt Mining:
In DRC, two types of mining occur, namely, artisanal small-scale mining (ASM) and industrial mining. However, ASM mining occurs at a minority level, but many families depend on this for their livelihood. The primary issues associated with this mining are child labour, human rights exploitation, and a hazardous working environment.
These issues cannot be avoided entirely. A report issued by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said that cobalt mined by ASM or industry mining loses its originality once it enters the supply chain and the purchaser does know how the cobalt they obtained is mined which significantly imposes a risk for the same.
How To Source Cobalt Responsibly?
As you can see, in the cobalt supply chain, human rights exploitation, child labor, and a lack of safety equipment in mining which also explains the crucial part of companies and investors with small-scale miners. As cobalt does not have any binding regulation similar to the conflict minerals, the OECD Guidelines expect the companies and investors to resource the mineral responsibly and conduct diligence on these human rights under their portfolio to reduce the impact of exploitations.
The following are the ways where you can resource the cobalt responsibly. They are,
Choosing the “Better Mining Program”:
The “Better Mining Program” is the ASM mining program implemented to monitor the mining activity in the DRC. This program works by collecting and analyzing all the reliable data in accordance with the mining and converts the obtained data into practical improvements. The Better Mining Program is extended in areas like Kasulo, Kamilombe, and Likasi as well.
- You must also optimize your supply chain with the help of the Extended Minerals Reporting Template.
- It is also essential that you go entirely through the “Cobalt Refiner Supply Chain Due Diligence Standard” to understand the various refiners and mines included in the cobalt supply chain.
- Similarly, look out for the Conformant and Active Cobalt Refiners list to ensure the entity you are engaged with has undergone an assessment of the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process.
- The Risk Readiness Assessment will also help you find the right entity to get self-assessed about the cobalt refiners.
Thus, these are the things and ways that you should know and incorporate if your supply chain includes cobalt. Sunstream will be your ideal partner to drive your company’s operation with due diligence and regulations like Conflict mineral compliance and MICA compliance.