JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Natural resources management company Impact and technology company Consensas have partnered to create solutions to enable companies to confidently source minerals from conflict-prone and high-risk areas, while compensating women and men in local artisanal mining communities for supply chain transparency.
Working together, Impact and Consensas will solve challenges including poor Internet access, inadequate or missing data and out-of-date information.
“Worldwide, companies face increasing pressure from governments, media and their consumers to know where their minerals come from and to address possible risks in their supply chain, such as conflict financing, corruption and human rights abuses,” said Impact executive director Joanne Lebert.
She added that the companies are excited to combine their expertise in natural resource governance, mineral supply chains, development, human rights and monitoring and evaluation with Consensas’ technology.
“Together, we can encourage both responsible sourcing and provide a sustainable solution adapted to the artisanal mining communities we work with.”
Technology solutions need to reflect the realities of conflict and high-risk areas. The solution takes into account the needs of artisanal miners, communities and governments.
The Consensas platform has been designed to incentivise every actor in the supply chain to participate by assigning data ownership, autonomy and recognition, as well as compensating local actors for the value of the data they share with companies.
“It is a multilingual, inexpensive and scalable technology platform to cryptographically preserve and manage information. Through data harmonisation, real-time insights and alerts, it significantly reduces the burden of regulatory compliance and reporting for companies,” explained Lebert.
The platform takes the best from blockchain and tailors it to be uniquely adapted for small-scale market participants, including artisanal mining communities, and in complex environments. The platform is fully functional and secure offline, low cost, and provides multiple automated and manual methods to verify the data’s accuracy.
Additionally, the platform is unique in its ability to collect gender-disaggregated impact data, in addition to traceability and due diligence information. This allows companies to accurately report on security and development at the community level and address unintended consequences, while promoting positive impacts.
“As a technology company, partnering with an international nonprofit has been invaluable. Impact’s strong presence on-the-ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is allowing us to build this platform with real-time, meaningful data.
Creating our solution from the ground up ensures our technology works well for companies and, equally important, works well for mining communities,” said Consensas CEO Ryan Taylor.
He added that it is clear that companies can not avoid sourcing minerals from challenging environments, such as mining cobalt in the DRC. As the market for consumer electronics and electric cars grows, the demand for cobalt increases. With over 50% of cobalt being produced in the DRC, companies need the right tools to source responsibly, identify risks and understand the impact of their sourcing.
“We provide comprehensive traceability, due diligence, and impact data and the confidence that it’s accurate, up-to-date and secure,” said Taylor.
The Consensas platform is being implemented as part of Impact’s Just Gold project, the first to successfully make traceable, legal and conflict-free artisanal gold from the DRC available to international markets.
Impact and Consensas are testing the applicability of the solution for other conflict-prone minerals such as cobalt, sapphires or diamonds, as well as other natural resources in areas where security and human rights are at risk.