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?