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RCS Global and UNICEF collaborate to tackle child rights infringements in artisanal mining

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Global Mining Review,

RCS Global Group and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have announced a technical cooperation to develop, pilot sites, and roll-out internationally, a toolkit to prevent and counteract child labour by mitigating wider child rights infringements in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The collaboration brings together the industry leading technical expertise of RCS Global Group and the reach and experience of UNICEF, one of the world’s leading child rights organisation.

Through its world-first Better Mining programme, RCS Global has pioneered a new, mineral agnostic and replicable, assurance and impact programme that continuously monitors and supports the improvement of conditions on and around artisanal and small-scale mine (ASM) sites. Better Mining’s current scope includes over 40 3TG ASM sites in cobalt, copper, gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

Operating in more than 190 countries and territories, UNICEF is one the of world’s leading humanitarian and development agencies focused on helping disadvantaged and marginalised children to lead safe, healthy lives. Each year, the organisation protects and supports millions of children around the world through development programmes, advocacy and rapid humanitarian response.

As part of UNICEF’s Mitigating Child Rights Deprivations in ASM Communities Project, financed by BMZ (the German government) cooperation fund ‘We Stop Child Labor’, RCS Global and UNICEF will co-develop a toolkit for mine operators and supply chain stakeholders to better identify child rights violations and implement best practice social protection measures in the ASM context.

The toolkit will include actionable guidance related to engagement with children and parents on and around ASM sites, health and safety measures including access control to sites, and stakeholder engagement including with local authorities and civil society organisations.

Once complete, the toolkit will then be trialled on at least two ASM mine sites where RCS Global’s Better Mining programme is already active.

The technical cooperation is highly innovative, as it allows the formal integration of the toolkit's recommendations to be integrated into Better Mining’s digital application, complementing its database of over 300 mitigation measures for a variety of risk factors in the ASM sector. This allows the immediate replication of the approach across the mines already in the programme, fast-tracking direct and practical impact.

RCS Global and UNICEF then plan to collaborate on promoting the tool kit and rolling it out across ASM communities and global supply chain actors. The project is scheduled to complete and begin international adoption by June 2022.

“We are excited to be developing this new approach in collaboration with UNICEF. Child rights infringements and child labour in ASM won’t end through disengagement. Instead, the international community, not least stakeholders in the ASM supply chain, need to take an ‘engage and improve’ approach. This new toolkit will enable this to happen,” said Dr Nicholas Garrett, CEO, RCS Global Group.

Daniella Savic, Mining Partnerships Coordinator, UNICEF DRC, added: “Child rights infringements linked to artisanal mining are a persistent issue across a vast range of resources in geographies from cobalt to gold. We have been actively involved in working to address this challenge and this project with RCS Global technical expertise will allow us to systematise, harmonise the interventions on the ground, and scale a common and holistic approach through our entire network.”

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African mining news Copper mining news Gold mining news