Innovative ideas to improve working conditions in international small-scale mining

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Global demand for raw materials continues to grow steadily, not least because future technologies like electromobility require ever larger quantities of metals – including the conflict minerals gold, tungsten, tantalum and tin. The mining of these raw materials is, in some cases, inhumane and extremely harmful to the environment. To help improve the social and ecological conditions of mining, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is promoting the development of sustainable supply chains in the natural resource sector. The European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM) is a key partner here: the partnership brings together political and economic stakeholders to create and expand markets and distribution channels for responsibly sourced raw materials.

In the second half of 2018, project teams were able to apply for funding to improve the situation in gold, tungsten, tantalum and tin mines via the EPRM website. Teams had to consist of at least one private company and one partner from politics, science or civil society. Applicants had to submit a concept for optimising the company’s supply chain in ways that would significantly improve the situation of early-stage workers in small-scale mining. This included addressing issues as diverse as gender equality in mining regions, improved market access for small-scale mining and better networking among players in the supply chain.

Working on behalf of the Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), adelphi provided support for the EPRM call for proposals from January 2, 2019 to March 1, 2019 by reviewing and evaluating applications and recommendations for or against the allocation of funds. This took place in close consultation with the EPRM and led to the selection of a final list of projects to receive funding starting in September 2019.