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On the ground assessment for red-flagged supply chains

How should on-the-ground assessment teams work?

  • Consult with local and central govern­ments and civil society organ­i­sa­tions with local knowl­edge and exper­tise
  • Consider how to share infor­ma­tion throughout the entire supply chain, prefer­ably through IT-based system acces­sible by other compa­nies or any insti­tu­tion­alised mech­a­nism
  • Establish or support the creation, where appro­priate, of community-monitoring networks to feed infor­ma­tion into the assess­ment team

What questions should on-the-ground assessment teams ask?

1. Know the context of the conflict-affected and high-risk area of mineral origin, transit and/or export
  • Study profiles on the conflict-affected and high-risk areas of origin, neigh­bouring and transit coun­tries (including poten­tial trans­porta­tion routes and the loca­tions of extrac­tion, trade, handling, and export). Relevant infor­ma­tion will include public reports (from govern­ments, inter­na­tional organ­i­sa­tions, NGOs, and media), maps, UN reports and UN Security Council sanc­tions, industry liter­a­ture relating to mineral extrac­tion, and its impact on conflict, human rights or envi­ron­mental harm in the country of poten­tial origin, or other public state­ments (e.g. from ethical pension funds).
  • Are there inter­na­tional enti­ties capable of inter­ven­tion and inves­ti­ga­tion, such as UN peace­keeping units, based in or near the area? Can these systems be used to iden­tify actors in the supply chain? Are there local means for recourse to address concerns related to the pres­ence of armed groups or other elements of conflict? Are rele­vant national, provin­cial, and/or local regu­la­tory agen­cies with juris­dic­tion over mining issues capable of addressing such concerns?

2. Know your suppliers and busi­ness part­ners
  • Who are the suppliers or other parties involved in financing, extracting, trading and trans­porting the minerals between point of extrac­tion and the point at which the company under­taking the due dili­gence takes custody of the minerals? Identify all signif­i­cant actors in the supply chain, collecting infor­ma­tion on owner­ship (including bene­fi­cial owner­ship), corpo­rate struc­ture, the names of corpo­rate offi­cers and direc­tors, the owner­ship inter­ests of the company or offi­cers in other organ­i­sa­tions, the busi­ness, govern­ment, polit­ical or mili­tary affil­i­a­tions of the company and offi­cers (in partic­ular, focusing on poten­tial rela­tion­ships with non-state armed groups or public or private secu­rity forces).
  • What procure­ment and due dili­gence systems do these suppliers have in place? What supply chain poli­cies have suppliers adopted and how have they inte­grated them into their manage­ment processes? How do they estab­lish internal controls over minerals? How do they enforce poli­cies and condi­tions on their suppliers?

3. Know the condi­tions of mineral extrac­tion in conflict affected and high-risk areas
  • What is the exact origin of the minerals (what are the specific mines)?
  • What was the method of extrac­tion? Identify if minerals were extracted through arti­sanal and small-scale mining (“ASM”) or large-scale mining and if through ASM, iden­tify, where possible, whether extracted by indi­vidual arti­sanal miners, arti­sanal mining coop­er­a­tives, asso­ci­a­tions, or small enter­prises. Identify the taxes, royal­ties and fees paid to govern­ment insti­tu­tions, and the disclo­sures made on those payments.
  • Do condi­tions of extrac­tion involve the pres­ence and involve­ment of non-state armed groups or public or private secu­rity forces, including in one or more of the following: direct control of the mine or trans­porta­tion routes around mine; levying of taxes on miners or extor­tion of minerals; bene­fi­cial or other owner­ship inter­ests in the mine site or mineral rights by non-state armed groups or public or private secu­rity forces and/or their fami­lies and/ or asso­ciates; engage­ment in mining as a second income when “off duty”; or provi­sion of secu­rity paid by miners or through taxes arising from produc­tion. Do any of these armed groups or mili­tary units have an involve­ment or interest in the conflict? Do any of them have a history of involve­ment in wide­spread human rights abuses or other crimes?
  • What are the condi­tions of extrac­tion? In partic­ular, iden­tify if there are
    • any forms of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treat­ment exacted for the purposes of mineral extrac­tion;
    • any forms of forced or compul­sory labour which means work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of penalty and for which said person has not offered himself volun­tarily;
    • the worst forms of child labour for the purposes of mineral extrac­tion;
    • other gross human rights viola­tions and abuses such as wide­spread sexual violence on mine sites or in the course of mineral extrac­tion; or
    • war crimes or other serious viola­tions of inter­na­tional human­i­tarian law, crimes against humanity or geno­cide.

4. Know the condi­tions of mineral trans­port, handling and trade in conflict affected and high-risk areas
  • Were down­stream purchasers situ­ated at the mine site or else­where? Were the minerals from different miners handled and processed sepa­rately and kept sepa­rate when sold down­stream? If not, at what point were the minerals processed, consol­i­dated and mixed when sold down­stream?
  • Who were the inter­me­di­aries that handled the minerals? Identify whether any of those inter­me­di­aries have been reported or suspected to be extracting or trading minerals asso­ci­ated with non-state armed groups.
  • To what extent, if any, are public or private secu­rity forces or non-state armed groups directly or indi­rectly involved in the trading, trans­porta­tion or taxing of the minerals? Are the public or private secu­rity forces or non-state armed groups bene­fiting in any way from the trading, trans­porting or taxing of minerals being carried out by other parties, including through affil­i­a­tions with inter­me­di­aries or exporters?
  • To what extent, if any, are the public or private secu­rity forces or non-state armed groups present along trade and trans­porta­tion routes? Are there any human rights abuses occur­ring in trading, trans­porta­tion or taxing of the minerals? For example, is there evidence of forced labour, extor­tion or coer­cion being used? Is child labour being used? In partic­ular, iden­tify if there are
    • any forms of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treat­ment exacted for the purposes of mineral trans­port or trade;
    • any forms of forced or compul­sory labour to mine, trans­port, trade or sell minerals;
    • the worst forms of child labour for the purposes of mineral trans­port or trade;
    • other gross human rights viola­tions and abuses such as wide­spread sexual violence on mine sites or in the course of mineral trans­port or trade; or
    • war crimes or other serious viola­tions of inter­na­tional human­i­tarian law, crimes against humanity or geno­cide for the purposes of mineral trans­port or trade.
  • What infor­ma­tion is avail­able to verify the down­stream trade, such as authentic docu­ments, trans­porta­tion routes, licensing, cross-border trans­porta­tion, and the pres­ence of armed groups and/or public or private secu­rity forces?

5. Know the condi­tions of export from conflict affected and high-risk areas
  • What was the point of export and have there been reports or are there suspi­cions of facil­i­ta­tion payments or other bribes paid at points of export to conceal or fraud­u­lently misrep­re­sent the mineral origin? What docu­ments accom­pa­nied mineral export and have there been reports or are there suspi­cions of fraud­u­lent docu­men­ta­tion or inac­cu­rately described decla­ra­tions (on type of mineral, mineral quality, origin, weight, etc.)? What taxes, duties or other fees were paid on export and have there been reports or are there suspi­cions of under-declaration?
  • How was export trans­porta­tion coor­di­nated and how was it carried out? Who are the trans­porters and have there been reports or are there suspi­cions of their engage­ment in corrup­tion (facil­i­ta­tion payment, bribes, under-declarations, etc.)? How was export financing and insur­ance obtained?