The Responsible Mineral Initiative (RMI)’s Annual Conference; Minespider, Google and LuNa Smelter.

Christian is a Project Manager at Minespider.
Christian Ecker
Traceability and transparency, aligning standards and ESG metrics and tracking carbon emissions - discover the key topics from the RMI's Annual Conference.
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The RMI’s and RBA’s 2022 conferences comprises three intense days of discussions, with sustainable sourcing experts from the world's leading OEMs in the electronics industry, the RMI and RBA, government and civil society organizations. 

 Key topics discussed:

- Traceability and transparency were on everyone's mind. While there needs to be a balance between what data can be shared and what should remain confidential, the ultimate purpose is to enable companies to: 

  • Showcase responsible sourcing practices to regulators and customers 
  • Work together with suppliers and make informed choices about supply chains

In this context, recent regulations were discussed (for example in the United States and Germany, among others), as they increase the pressure on companies to work with their supply chains. Issues such as Uyghur Labor and new regulations such as the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, were hot topics of discussion. 

- Aligning standards and reporting requirements, such as what ESG metrics to capture, as well as making sure data is comparable.

- Expansion from the 3Ts to further materials and an "all materials" strategy. Apart from the various metals typically identified as critical, interestingly enough this also included industry metals like aluminum and copper.

- Expansion from pure conflict due diligence to other ESG metrics. Particularly the importance of greenhouse gas emissions and the challenges around Scope 3 were crucial topics of discussion. It is clear that Responsible Sourcing and Business Conduct are becoming an increasingly important factor for investors. 

Minespider also had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with our partners at Google and LuNa Smelter. Since 2019, Google and Minespider have partnered on a number of traceability projects, starting with tracking tin from Minsur in Peru, one of the largest tin producers in the world. LuNa Smelter Ltd. joined the duo a year later, and is the only African tin smelter that has completed an assessment for the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP), the flagship program of the RMI.

What we’re working on:

  • Tracking materials from source (mine) to end-use products using blockchain technology,
  • Communicating the ESG details of the material across supply chains,
  • Lowering costs for the chain of custody and due diligence for supply chain participants,
  • Digitizing the process of complying with due diligence requirements for the upstream.

We are currently focused on the development and deployment of an independent tracking tool. 

The idea behind this tool was to help organizations working in conflict regions to independently indicate a chain of custody following the OECD guidelines. This means that miners and smelters would have less of a reliance on third-party certifiers in order to be compliant with the RMI guidelines.

As a result, Minespider’s tracking tool enables the recording and transferring of data between supply chain participants, and can now track bag numbers and weights of minerals and concentrates as they journey from the mines to downstream. Data can be collected independently or by a trusted third-party. It includes features such as barcode tag scanning, tag searching, GPS location input, and offline data upload.

Currently, the independent tracking tool is being tested in multiple countries, including Rwanda (with LuNa), Liberia, and Chile. The tool can be used in places where third-party certifiers and other upstream assurance mechanisms do not exist; for example, Minespider is conducting a pilot in Liberia with a tantalum ASM site.

We believe it is more important than ever to provide effective and cost-efficient tools for upstream stakeholders to do their own due diligence - and we’re excited to build out this vision along with innovative partners such as Google and LuNa. 

Want to learn more about our work with Google and LuNa?

About the author
Christian is a Project Manager at Minespider.
Christian Ecker
Christian is a Project Manager at Minespider. He focuses on the implementation of traceability processes and sustainability policies, with an interest in local-level human rights & environmental impacts.

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