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Taking Care of the Congolese Artisanal Miner

A programme to monitor and improve artisanal cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will double the number of mining sites it covers this year through a partnership between RCS Global and the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI). RCS Global, a company in Berlin that audits supply chains, started the “better mining” programme in 2018, collecting data on cobalt mine sites in the DRC and giving mine operators “corrective action” plans when mining practices were found to be unsafe. Teaming up with the US-based RMI, a part of the Responsible Business Alliance, will allow the programme to grow from three sites to six this year, and to 12 or more sites by 2023, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday. The aim is to convince end-users of cobalt — a metal used in smartphones, computers, and electric-car batteries — that artisanal mine sites, often associated with child labour and dangerous working conditions, can be transformed into responsibly managed, viable sources of cobalt.