DRC: Société Minière de Bisunzu tags metals with barcodes to ensure supply chains are free from conflict and child labour
Author: Reuters, The East African, Published on: 4 October 2019
"Congo mine deploys digital weapons in fight against conflict minerals", 1 October 2019.
In...eastern Congo...a government official puts a barcoded tag on a sack of ore rich in tantalum, a rare metal widely used in smartphones. With a handheld device linked to a server in the cloud, the agent scans the barcode, uploading data including the sealed bag’s weight, when it was tagged, and by whom. It’s the latest initiative...to show minerals entering global supply chains come from mines that don’t use child labour or fund warlords and corrupt soldiers.
The new system developed by RCS Global, a company in Berlin that audits supply chains, started in January at Societe Miniere de Bisunzu’s (SMB) mine near Rubaya...
“It allows purchasers of SMB material to be sure that it actually comes from that mine site and is not smuggled into the supply chain from other mines...” said Ferdinand Maubrey, a managing director at RCS.
Whether the new digital approach...succeeds is of keen interest to companies, especially carmakers like Tesla, General Motors and Ford, as regulators on both sides of the Atlantic put pressure on end-users to prove their supply chains are clean.