Conflict Tin Tracing in Congo Extends to North Kivu Province

A program for tracing the source of tin and other minerals mined in war-affected areas expanded into Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu Province, according to an industry group.

The program is being extended to include mines in Rubaya, west of Goma, according to St. Albans, England-based ITRI Ltd. Its Tin Supply Chain Initiative, or iTSCi, aims to curb trade of so-called conflict minerals produced in war-torn countries. Other nearby mines in North Kivu are candidates for inclusion in iTSCi subject to a financing arrangement, the group said in a statement today.

“Expansion into North Kivu is a highly significant and positive step” for iTSCi and for local businesses and communities, Kay Nimmo, manager of sustainability and regulatory affairs at ITRI, said in the statement.

Mineral-rich eastern Congo has suffered almost two decades of conflict since the aftermath of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide spread across the border. The U.S. financial-reform bill known as the Dodd-Frank Act contains a provision requiring American companies that buy minerals from Congo and neighboring countries to certify that purchases are “conflict free.”

Congo was the world’s seventh-largest producer of tin ore in 2012, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Mining represented about 15 percent of the nation’s economy that year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Malaysia Smelting Corp., the world’s second-biggest tin producer, is the leading buyer of conflict-free minerals from the area, according to ITRI. The group’s members accounted for two-thirds of 2012’s world output of tin, used mostly to make solders that join metals together.

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