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The iTSCi programme continues to win awards for its outstanding contribution to sustainable supply chain management. Already recognised in January as a key contributor to ITRI being named edie Sustainability Leader 2017, iTSCi has now won an International CSR Excellence Award, presented at the UK Houses of Parliament.

International CSR Excellence Awards are presented by the Green Organisation for Corporate and Social Responsibility to caring companies that use their privileged position to help their colleagues, communities, customers, the environment and the less fortunate.

The award recognised iTSCi achievement in the Socio-Economic Sector. By pioneering due diligence and minerals traceability in Central Africa, iTSCi has clearly demonstrated improvements to the economic security and quality of life for thousands of mining families. The programme has also provided a platform for community projects managed by NGO partner PACT.

Commenting on the award the CSR judges said: "The iTSCi programme reaches into remote parts of Africa and enables small-scale miners to break the link to funding rebel-armed groups; improve their infrastructure and reduce the reliance on child labour. It is an ambitious project that has made very significant progress."

A recent paper by one the original champions of mineral supply chain due diligence, Gregory Mthembu-Salter, has questioned recent published criticism of upstream due diligence systems such as iTSCi, highlighting a failure to recognise that some negative trade offs, such as increased cost and exclusion of some actors from the supply chain, are inevitable if international buyers and consumers of 3T minerals are not to contribute to funding conflict in high-risk production zones. Likewise, the negative trade-off of conflict financing is made more likely if efforts to track and trace minerals are summarily abandoned in the name of maximising artisanal digger incomes.

There may, however, be a middle way, one which both lessens the financial burden on artisanal producers of implementing mineral supply chain due diligence, and ensures that international purchases of 3T minerals do not finance conflict. Greater downstream recognition of the value of efforts to avoid conflict financing and human rights abuses upstream and an increased willingness to share such costs across the entire supply chain would represent such a path, as previously debated in international fora.

The paper was published as a Working Paper on the Suluhu blog in December 2016 by Gregory Mthembu-Salter and colleague Dr Thomas Salter of Phuzumoya Consulting, experts in African politics, security and natural resources. Mthembu-Salter was part of the UN Panel of Experts in 2007-08 which made the original call for buyers to exercise due diligence on purchases of 3T minerals and gold from the DR Congo and surrounding countries, and again in 2010-2011, drafting the original recommendations for the UN due diligence guidelines, which were published in advance of those from the OECD.

Entitled "A Response to 'Terr(it)or(ies) of Peace'" the article sharply criticises a paper of that title published by University of Zurich authors Christoph Vogel and Timothy Raeymaekers in the journal Antipode in March 2016. Specifically, explaining in detail why that paper is too quick to 'point an accusatory finger' at the inevitable negative consequences of imposing due diligence and traceability requirements, the paper argues instead there should be an exploration of the 'more pressing issue' of how to resolve the policy paradox involved in relation to the alternative of doing nothing.

There is increasing debate about how the downstream sector can more effectively contribute direct funding to assist upstream suppliers in a fairer balance of responsibility across tiers of the supply chain, so as better to protect the livelihoods of artisanal miners. Upstream industry continues to propose this suggestion, including for example in an open letter from iTSCi members and local government agencies published in December 2015 when low commodity prices threatened funding. At a recent Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI) conference DRC Vice-Président de la Chambre des Mines, John Kanyoni called for a more equitable sharing of costs as well as value. Joseph Ikoli Yombo Y'Apeke, Deputy Director Cabinet, Ministry of Mines, DRC also argued for additional financial support from downstream users during his speech at the event.
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Un article récent rédigé par l'un des premiers défenseurs du devoir de diligence de la chaîne d'approvisionnement des minerais, Gregory Mthembu-Salter, a récusé une critique des systèmes de devoir de diligence en amont, tels que l'iTSCi, qui a fait l'objet d'une publication récente, en soulignant qu'on y néglige de reconnaître que certains compromis négatifs, tels qu'une augmentation des coûts et l'exclusion de certains acteurs de la chaîne d'approvisionnement, sont inévitables si les acheteurs internationaux et les consommateurs de minerais 3T ne veulent pas contribuer au financement des conflits dans les zones de production à haut risque. De même, le compromis négatif du financement des conflits est plus susceptible de se profiler si les efforts de suivi et de traçabilité des minerais sont sommairement abandonnés au nom de l'optimisation des revenus des creuseurs artisanaux.

Il peut toutefois y avoir une voie médiane, une voie qui d'une part allège le fardeau financier des producteurs artisanaux associé à l'exercice du devoir de diligence dans la chaîne d'approvisionnement des minerais, et d'autre part garantit que les achats internationaux de minerais 3T ne financent pas les conflits. Une plus grande reconnaissance en aval de la valeur des efforts déployés pour éviter le financement des conflits et les atteintes aux droits humains en amont, et une volonté plus affirmée de partager ces coûts sur l'ensemble de la chaîne d'approvisionnement, représenterait une telle voie, comme cela a déjà été débattu dans les forums internationaux.

L'article a été publié sous forme de document de travail sur le blog Suluhu en décembre 2016 par Gregory Mthembu-Salter et son collégue, Dr Thomas Salter de Phuzumoya Consulting, des spécialistes de la politique africaine, de la sécurité et des ressources naturelles. Mthembu-Salter faisait partie du Panel d'experts des Nations Unies qui, en 2007-08, a lancé le premier appel demandant aux acheteurs d'exercer un devoir de diligence sur les achats de minerais 3T et d'or en provenance de la RDC et des pays voisins, et une fois encore en 2010-11, en préparant les recommandations d'origine pour les directives de l'ONU sur le devoir de diligence qui ont été publiées préalablement à celles de l'OCDE.

Intitulé « A Response to 'Terr(it)or(ies) of Peace' » (Réponse aux Terr-itoires/-eurs de la Paix) l'article critique violemment un document publié sous ce titre par ses auteurs Christoph Vogel et Timothy Raeymaekers de l'Université de Zurich dans la revue Antipode en mars 2016. Expliquant en particulier par le détail pourquoi cette publication « pointe trop rapidement un doigt accusateur » envers les conséquences négatives inévitables de l'imposition d'exigences de devoir de diligence et de traçabilité, l'article avance qu'il faudrait plutôt explorer la « question plus pressante » de la manière de résoudre le paradoxe politique impliqué par l'alternative consistant à ne rien faire.

Le débat s'intensifie sur la façon dont le secteur en aval peut contribuer plus efficacement au financement direct afin d'aider les fournisseurs en amont en établissant un équilibre plus juste des responsabilités à travers les différents maillons de la chaîne d'approvisionnement, de sorte à mieux protéger les moyens de subsistance des creuseurs artisanaux. L'industrie en amont continue à proposer cette suggestion, notamment par exemple dans une lettre ouverte des membres de l'iTSCi et des agences gouvernementales locales publiée en décembre 2015 au moment où la faiblesse des prix des matières premières menaçait le financement. Au cours d'une récente conférence de la Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI), le Vice-président de la Chambre des Mines de la RDC, John Kanyoni, a appelé à un partage plus équitable aussi bien des coûts que de la valeur. Joseph Ikoli Yombo Y'Apeke, Directeur de Cabinet adjoint du Ministre des Mines de la RDC a lui aussi plaidé en faveur d'un soutien financier supplémentaire de la part des utilisateurs en aval au cours de son intervention lors de cet évènement.
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1 Salter T., Mthembu-Salter G., "A Response to 'Terr(it)or(ies) of Peace? The Congolese Mining Frontier and the Fight Against "Conflict Minerals" Plus Ca Change ...", Suluhu Working Paper No. 2, Dec 2016 here

2 Vogel C., Raeymaekers T., “Terr(it)or(ies) of Peace? The Congolese Mining Frontier and the Fight Against ‘Conflict Minerals’” Antipode (2016), 48, (4), pp 1102-1121, pub. Wiley & Sons, ISSN: 14678330, DOI: 10.1111/anti.12236 here

Mike Piwowar, the Acting Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a statement on the 7th April 2017 (click here) in reaction to the final US Court decision a few days earlier confirming the view that public disclosure of 'conflict' or 'not conflict' products would violate the first amendment of the US constitution. The statement explained that "Until these issues are resolved, it is difficult to conceive of a circumstance that would counsel in favor of enforcing Item 1.01(c) of Form SD". Note that Item 1.01(c) contains the due diligence requirements and therefore it appears that downstream US companies will not be required to conduct a due diligence review or an audit, but will still need to provide reports and do origin inquiries, as they have been doing. The move sparked backlash from SEC Democratic Commissioner Kara Stein, who accused Piwowar of acting beyond his authority to change parts of the Rule mandated by Congress, adopted by the SEC and reviewed by the courts. "It is unprecedented for one commissioner, acting alone and without official notice and comment, to engage in de facto rulemaking," she said. The SEC will now be asked to determine how to address the Court of Appeals decision including whether Congress's original intent can be achieved while avoiding the constitutional problem confirmed by the Court. Separately, the Department of State has recently requested comment on how best to support the responsible sourcing of 'conflict minerals'. (click here)

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Mike Piwowar, président par intérim de la Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) des USA a publié un communiqué le 7 avril 2017 (lien français pas disponible)en réaction à la décision finale de la Cour américaine quelques jours auparavant confirmant que la divulgation publique de la provenance « de zone de conflit » ou « sans lien avec les conflits » des produits serait en violation du premier amendement de la Constitution des États-Unis. Le communiqué expliquait que « tant que ces questions ne seront pas résolues, il est difficile de concevoir une circonstance qui jouerait en faveur de l'application de l'article 1.01(c) de la circulaire SD ». On notera que l'article 1.01(c) comporte les exigences relatives au devoir de diligence et il semble donc que les entreprises US en aval ne seront pas tenues de se livrer à une revue ou à un audit du devoir de diligence, mais elles devront tout de même fournir des rapports et mener des recherches sur l'origine, comme elles l'ont fait jusqu'à maintenant. Ce changement a déclenché une violente réaction de la part de la commissaire démocrate de la SEC, Kara Stein, qui a accusé Piwowar d'agir au-delà de son autorité pour modifier certaines parties du Règlement établi par le Congrès, adopté par la SEC et examiné par les tribunaux. « C'est un fait sans précédent qu'un commissaire, agissant seul, et sans avis ou commentaire officiel, cherche à établir un règlement de facto » a-t-elle observé. Il sera maintenant demandé à la SEC de déterminer comment donner suite à la décision de la Cour d'appel, notamment à savoir si l'intention initiale du Congrès peut être réalisée tout en évitant le problème constitutionnel confirmé par la Cour. De son côté, le Département d'État a récemment demandé des commentaires sur la meilleure façon de soutenir l'approvisionnement responsable en « minerais provenant de zones de conflit ». (lien français pas disponible)

Newly published data from the iTSCi minerals due diligence programme demonstrates effective risk identification and management outcomes for tin, tungsten and tantalum supply from Central Africa.

The new figures show how the 3,063 incidents recorded and managed across 1,341 mine sites in four countries by iTSCi from 2011 to 2016 have resulted in 2,081 positive outcomes, as the co-ordinated combination of actions by stakeholders has achieved successful and progressive improvement in the supply chain.

Through iTSCi implementation, companies, governments, civil society and iTSCi staff facilitated and followed up on the resolution of risk incidents and achieved important outcomes including;

- Traceability verification (24%)
- Government accountability and improved performance (15%)
- Process improvements in due diligence and systems (15%)
- Suspension and controls of mines or companies (12%)
- Due diligence actions on specific supplies (11%)
- Advice and training by iTSCi or others (11%)
- Human rights, safety and environmental improvements (7%)
- Security improvements by state and private services (5%)

Of outcomes achieved by companies, around 70% were related to due diligence actions and improvements in processes for managing risks. Of those associated with governments, 40% led to improved government performance, plus significant numbers of actions on suspensions, arrests, or direct action from the command structure of state services. 

This new review of incidents also showed that across the extensive iTSCi monitored areas and supply chains, instances of the most serious human rights abuses were very low, averaging 2 per year, and potential risks from non-state armed groups or unidentified bandits totalled only 22, or 0.7% of incidents.

Over six years of continued growth in implementation from 2011 to 2016, more than 90,800,000 kg of mineral concentrate were traded in more than 5.4 million in-region business transactions. Risk management is achieved by the continual presence of iTSCi on-the-ground teams of experts who, in 2016, undertook 400-500 site visits per month to mining areas, mineral processing and storage facilities and along transport routes, helping to raise-awareness, advising and training several thousand people.

The iTSCi report "iTSCi Programme: Incidents and Outcomes: 2011 to 2016" is available for download here.

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Les données récemment publiées du programme iTSCi de diligence raisonnable des minerais démontrent une identification efficace des risques et des résultats de gestion pour l'approvisionnement en étain, tungstène et tantale en Afrique centrale.

Les nouveaux chiffres montrent comment les 3.063 incidents enregistrés et gérés sur 1.341 sites miniers dans quatre pays par iTSCi de 2011 à 2016 ont entraîné 2.081 résultats positifs, car la combinaison coordonnée d'actions par les parties prenantes a permis une amélioration réussie et progressive de la chaine d'approvisionnement.

Grâce à la mise en œuvre de l'iTSCi, les entreprises, les gouvernements, la société civile et le personnel de l'iTSCi ont facilité et suivi la résolution des incidents de risque et ont réalisé des résultats importants, notamment;

- Vérification de la traçabilité (24 %)
- Responsabilité du gouvernement et performance améliorée (15 %)
- Améliorations des processus au niveau devoir de diligence et systèmes (15 %)
- Suspension et contrôles de mines ou d'entreprises (12 %)
- Mesures de devoir de diligence pour des fournisseurs spécifiques (11 %)
- Conseils et formation prodigués par l'iTSCi ou autres parties (11 %)
- Améliorations des droits humains, de la sécurité et de l'environnement (7 %)
- Améliorations de la sécurité par des services de l'État ou privés (5 %)

Sur les résultats associés aux entreprises, environ 70 % avaient trait à des mesures relatives au devoir de diligence et à des améliorations des processus de gestion des risques. Sur les résultats associés aux gouvernements, 40 % d'entre eux portaient sur une amélioration de la performance du gouvernement, plus un nombre considérable de mesures de suspension, d'arrestations, ou d'actions venant directement de la hiérarchie des services de l'État.


Cette nouvelle revue des incidents a également montré que dans les vastes zones surveillées et les chaînes d'approvisionnement iTSCi , les cas d'atteintes graves aux droits humains ont été très peu nombreux, 2 par an en moyenne ; et les risques potentiels posés par des groupes armés non-étatiques ou des bandits non identifiés s'élèvent à un total de 22, soit 0,7 % des incidents.


Plus de six ans de croissance continue dans la mise en œuvre de 2011 à 2016, le commerce de plus de 90.800.000 kg de concentrés de minerais, négociés par le canal de plus de 5,4 millions de transactions commerciales au sein même de la région. La gestion des risques est assurée par la présence continue des équipes de terrain iTSCi qui, en 2016, ont effectuées 400 à 500 visites de sites par mois dans les zones minières, les installations de traitement et de stockage des minerais et le long des itinéraires de transport et contribuant à sensibiliser, conseiller et former plusieurs milliers de personnes.

Le rapport iTSCi "Incidents du Programme iTSCi et Résultats : De 2011 à 2016" est disponible à télécharger ici.

Following recent publicity over allegations of child labour and poor working conditions at DRC artisanal cobalt mines, Apple has announced that it will this year begin to include cobalt suppliers in its due diligence protocols. They will use a similar approach to existing ‘conflict minerals’ programmes operating there for tin, tungsten and tantalum.

Issues over cobalt mining in the DRC were raised by an Amnesty International report in January 2016. The Washington Postand more recently Sky News have published their own investigations.  

DRC produces around 50% of cobalt global supply, one-fifth of which is produced from artisanal mines by miners known locally as creusseurs. Most of the ore is channelled through traders to Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, China who process the cobalt for supply, mainly to lithium ion battery producers.

Apple estimates that 20 per cent of the cobalt it uses in batteries comes from Huayou Cobalt. It will now temporarily halt artisanal cobalt supply from the DRC and work with Hauyou Cobalt to verify individual mines. Aware that mining provides a vital income for hundreds of thousands of people in the world’s poorest countries Apple had pledged that these mines “will re-enter our supply chain when we are confident that the appropriate protections are in place.”    

A significant volume of both cobalt and copper are mined artisanally in the Katanga area of DRC, close to where iTSCi is currently implemented and already managing risks of conflict and human rights concerns such as child labour in 3T mineral supply chains.

On 3rd April 2017, the Council of the European Union adopted the long debated regulation designed to address conflict and human rights abuses linked to the global mineral trade of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (3TG) through certification of EU importers (click here)

The Regulation will now come into effect shortly after being published in the official journal of the EU although the key clauses on due diligence, risk management, disclosure and other reporting obligations will not be binding until 1st January 2021. The Regulation explains how, unlike the more geographically limited US equivalent Dodd Frank Act, due diligence would be expected on materials originally sourced from any 'conflict or high-risk' area around the world. Importers of listed products into the EU are encouraged to begin understanding the requirements and considering the best approach to comply. The rules are expected to be applicable to tin products defined by the following CN codes;

• Tin, unwrought 8001
• Tin bars, rods, profiles and wires 8003 00 00
• Tin, other articles 8007 00
• Tin ores and concentrates 2609 00 00
• Tin oxides and hydroxides ex 2825 90 85
• Tin chlorides 2827 39 10

Various thresholds for import volumes have also been set which are designed to exempt smaller importers from the requirements even though this is not in conformance with the OECD guidance on due diligence in supply chains which explains how actions can be tailored for company size and used by all. Importers who are affected will be required to undergo an additional audit. The European Commission will be drafting a handbook including non-binding guidelines to help companies with the identification of conflict-affected and high-risk areas although it may be unlikely that specific or up to date advice on precise locations will be available. The Regulation does not apply mandatory requirements on downstream companies producing or importing consumer products although some voluntary action is recommended. As a result, it seems that the Regulation will not fully control the import of goods potentially affected by conflict or human rights into the EU.

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Le 3 avril 2017, le Conseil de l'Union européenne a adopté, au bout d'un long débat, le règlement visant à répondre au problème des conflits et atteintes aux droits humains en lien avec le commerce mondial des minerais d'étain, tantale, tungstène et or (3TG) par le biais de la certification des importateurs européens (lien français pas disponible) . Le règlement entrera maintenant en vigueur peu après sa publication au journal officiel de l'UE, bien que les principales clauses sur le devoir de diligence, la gestion des risques, la communication d'informations et autres obligations de reddition de comptes ne seront contraignantes qu'à partir du 1er janvier 2021. Ce règlement explique comment, contrairement à la loi Dodd-Frank, la loi américaine équivalente qui est plus limitée sur le plan géographique, le devoir de diligence devrait être respecté sur les matiériaux provenant à l'origine de zones « de conflit ou à haut risque » à travers le monde. Les importateurs des produits énumérés dans l'UE sont encouragés à commencer à comprendre les exigences et à étudier la meilleure approche pour s'y conformer. Il est prévu que le règlement s'applique aux produits d'étain définis par les codes NC suivants :
• Étain brut 8001
• Barres, profilés et fils en étain 8003 00 00
• Autres ouvrages en étain 8007 00
• Minerais d'étain et leurs concentrés 2609 00 00
• Oxydes et hydroxydes d'étain ex 2825 90 85
• Chlorure d'étain 2827 39 10

Différents seuils ont aussi été établis pour les volumes d'importation afin d'exempter les petits importateurs de ces obligations, même si cela n'est pas conforme aux recommandations de l'OCDE sur le devoir de diligence dans les chaînes d'approvisionnement, lesquelles expliquent comment les mesures peuvent être adaptées à la taille d'une entreprise et utilisées par tous. Les importateurs concernés devront faire l'objet d'un audit supplémentaire. La Commission européenne va élaborer, sous la forme d'un manuel, des lignes directrices non contraignantes afin d'aider les entreprises dans l'identification des zones de conflit et à haut risque, bien qu'il soit improbable que des conseils spécifiques et actualisés sur des lieux précis soient disponibles. Le Règlement n'impose pas d'obligations aux entreprises en aval qui produisent ou importent des biens de consommation, quoique des mesures volontaristes soient recommandées. En conséquence, il semble que le Règlement ne contrôlera pas totalement l'importation de marchandises potentiellement affectées par les conflits ou les droits humains au sein de l'UE.

The risk of human rights tainted tungsten, tin, tantalum and gold (3TG) entering the supply chains of tech firms is extending well beyond countries considered to be the traditional source of the so called “conflict minerals,” used by armed groups to finance their war against established governments.

African countries, particularly the Democratic Republic of Congo and those in the Great Lakes Region, are not longer the only nor the main providers of tainted 3TG, key to the production of high tech devices and batteries for electric cars, global risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft warns.

The company’s newly released Commodity Risk Service reveals that 3TG minerals are also being produced at sites under the control of armed groups in both Myanmar and Colombia in order to fund violence.

According to their findings, the United Wa State Army is involved in tin production in north-eastern Myanmar, with output traced to Chinese factories producing electronic products. In Colombia, in turn, armed groups such as the ELN are currently in control of gold and tungsten mining operations.

“US supply chain legislation on mandatory reporting and traceability has focused on 3TG minerals from the Great Lakes,” says Stefan Sabo-Walsh, director of commodities research at Verisk Maplecroft. “This can leave tech firms focused on one region despite the myriad of risks occurring elsewhere in their supply chains.”

Tin mostly mined by children

In its assessment of 20 key human rights and environmental issues related to the extraction of 3TG minerals globally, Verisk Maplecroft identifies tin as the commodity that poses the highest risk for labour rights violations. Outside of the DRC, the use of minors is extremely likely in three of the eight largest tin-producing countries – Bolivia, Myanmar and Indonesia – while five are also identified as “high risk” for forced labour, including China and Peru.

Slavery, unfortunately, is still present is some of the producing nations, Brazil and the DRC, the researches say.

Occupational health and safety violations are also widespread across the largest tin-producing countries. This is a particular issue in the informal mining sector, which sees artisanal miners and surrounding communities regularly exposed to hazards, including mine cave-ins and the spread of diseases such as malaria.

Tantalum, widely used in the production of electronics, is also heavily linked to child labour, with the producing countries of Mozambique, Burundi and Rwanda categorised as ‘extreme risk’ for the issue.

According to Verisk Maplecroft, child labour and other human rights abuses are much less likely to be an issue with responsible international mining majors, due to their application of best practice international standards. The problem for tech companies is they often don’t know if the metals used in their products come from irresponsibly managed operations – whether industrial or artisanal – as they lack visibility of their supply chains at the mine or smelter level. This leaves them exposed to the potential for their products to contain tantalum and other minerals mined by underage workers in extremely hazardous conditions.

The report comes on the heels of the European Parliament approval of mandatory conflict mineral reporting rules for all of its member countries. It also follows a February decision by US President Donald Trump to review and likely scale back the Dodd-Frank law, which requires companies to trace and report whether their products contain minerals from a war-torn part of Africa, and on which the EU’s own law is based.


SOURCE

http://www.mining.com/conflict-minerals-entering-tech-supply-chains-from-countries-beyond-africa-report/ 

The European Union passed Monday fresh rules that make it more difficult for armed groups to finance their activities through the sale of so called conflict minerals.

The new legislation, which becomes binding in January 2021, forces all the 28 member countries to identify the source of their metals and mineral imports, particularly gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten, which are highly used in tech devices, batteries for electric cars and jewellery.

The countries will also have to ensure that their supply chains do not contribute to funding armed conflict.

The legislation, passed after about three years of debate, is seen as a step forward in product traceability and the fight against armed conflicts. But despite being binding, it will neither apply to the whole supply chain, nor will it cover all importers.

The council argues the rules cover at least 95% of all the EU imports of metals and minerals, but acknowledges that they don't  apply to importers whose annual import volumes are below a certain threshold amount.  This exemption is intended to provide some relief to smaller companies, the lawmakers said in the statement.

Another shortcoming of the new law is the fact that covers only four minerals and omits other resources, such as cobalt, which have been linked to serious human rights violations.

Under the legislation, manufactured products will not be subject to the traceability requirements, which experts warn is likely to make room for loopholes in the system.

The move comes shortly after US President Donald Trump announced his intention to review some of the provisions of the Dodd-Frank law, which governs mineral imports to the US and on which the EU’s own law is based.


SOURCE

http://www.mining.com/eu-toughens-up-rules-on-imports-of-conflict-minerals/

Canadian junior Strongbow Exploration Inc (CVE:SBW) announced Friday it has successfully completed water treatment trials at the South Crofty tin mine in Cornwall and is now working on an application to the UK Environment Agency for a mine waste permit.

Strongbow says the application was expected to be filed within one month and permits could be issued before the end of the summer. The Vancouver-based company in a statement said once it receives a mine waste permit with water discharge consent,  South Crofty will be fully permitted.

South Crofty, approximately 390km drive west of London on the Celtic Sea Coast, was the last tin mine in Europe when it closed in 1998. Several companies attempted to revive the flooded mines between 2001 and 2013 but due to poor market conditions the assets were put into administration in 2013.

Strongbow paid in the order of US$2m for 100% of the mining permission area which includes 26 former producing mines. Strongbow filed a National Instrument 43-101  technical report in June last year detailing indicated mineral resources of 1.9 million tonnes grading 1.7% Sn equivalent and 1.2 million tonnes inferred grading at 1.52%.

Existing mine infrastructure that is potentially useable includes 4 vertical shafts with a combined depth of 2,940m. According to Strongbow capital expenditure to restart mining would be minimum US$100 million.  Near surface copper mineralization exists at the site, but Strongbow is focusing on tin-only mineralization that occurs from a depth of 400 meters.

Strongbow also owns tin properties in Alaska and base and precious metal projects in Canada. The little traded company is worth $8.4 million on the TSX Venture Exchange after surging 11% on Friday.

The tin price has rallied to above $20,000 a tonne currently from multi-year lows of $13,200 a tonne hit mid-January last year. The metal reached a record high of $33,600 at the height of the mining boom in 2011.

Nearly 10 million tonnes at an average grade of 1.00% tin were mined at South Crofty between 1906 and 1998. Mining in the area dates back to the Bronze age, flourished during Roman times and reached a peak in the latter half of the 1800s when Cornwall accounted for nearly half the global trade in tin.


SOURCE

http://www.mining.com/historic-cornwall-tin-mine-big-step-closer-to-restart/

Chinese demand now constitute nearly half the global total for most industrial metals and in iron ore for instance the country is responsible for some 80% of the seaborne trade.

China's economic growth started to hit the skids around 2012 and last year came close to a hard landing sending most commodity prices to multi-year and sometimes decade lows.

China's GDP and demand for raw materials rebounded in the latter part of 2016 causing prices – to the surprise of many – for the likes of iron ore (up 85% year-to-date), coking coal (up three-fold), zinc (+64%) and others to soar.

Expansion rates may have slowed dramatically and doubts are creeping in about the longer term impact of stimulus measures introduced earlier this year, but in absolute numbers growth in Chinese demand remains eye-watering.

Taking a look back to 2000, the early days of the China-induced supercycle, it's startling to see just how different the mining industry would've been without Beijing's command economy as this table from Bloomberg Intelligence's 2017 metal outlook shows.


SOURCE

http://www.mining.com/without-china-global-mining-would-be-smaller-than-in-2000/ 

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