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Africa: How the Great Lakes region mineral certification seeks to deter child labour in mines & trade in conflict minerals

"Uganda To Commence UCGLR Mineral Certification"

Don Binyina is the Executive Director African Centre for Mineral Policy and the new Chair of the Audit Committee of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region Protocol (ICGLR) against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources. Among other things, ICGLR puts in place a mechanism for the certification of natural resources that the Audit Committee implements. Oil in Uganda spoke to Binyina about his mandate and what his position mean for Uganda’s Mineral industry.

[According to Binyina the]…ICGLR certification mechanism deals with chain of custody auditing mechanism where you look at the source of the minerals right from the mine through the transit process up to the point of export. Ideally, you are ensuring these minerals are coming from an ICGLR certified mine which is conflict-free…You have to look at the mines where these minerals are mined: ensure there’s no child labour, ensure no blatant abuse of human rights by the mine owner; ensure that these minerals are maybe not in any way originating from neighbouring mines which may be run by rebels or militias…

When you have visited a mine and certified that it meets all the standards of the ICGLR framework, then you flag it green. That means it’s ready for mineral exploration and there are no conflict minerals from that mine. Then if you find there are some human rights abuses or challenges with this specific mine; for example, child labour, blatant abuse if human rights, no occupation and safety measures – those are things that can be addressed so you give that mine a period of six months to rectify the challenges. If they have not been rectified, you extend that period but if they have been rectified you can proceed to certify them at the green level.