Solutions for Hope Fact Sheet
How Material Flows
The process starts at the mine. The mines used in the pilot project were the Mai Baridi, Kisengo and Luba mines located in the northern part of the Katanga province in the DRC. Mining Minerals Resources SPRL (MMR) has rights to these concessions and has contracted with Coopérative Des Artisanaux Miniers du Congo (CDMC) a mining co-op to manage the artisanal miners at the mines. To facilitate a more efficient and safer mining environment MMR operates the mines as a semi-mechanized process. MMR uses heavy equipment to remove the overburden (the soils above the ore body) to expose the ore body for the artisanal miners to then mine. The minerals are collected, weighed and logged as part of the iTSCi traceability process. Once the minerals have been properly logged by local SEASCAM agent, they are transported to an MMR depot in Kalemie, DRC for export. It is at this point that AVX Corporation (AVX) takes ownership of the minerals and for the pilot paid global market (Metal Pages) pricing so that the majority of the money remains in the region. The minerals were then transported to the F&X Electro-Materials Limited (F&X) smelter in Guangdong China. F&X processed the material into tantalum powder and wire for AVX. The powder and wire was then shipped to AVX’s facility in the Czech Republic to be made into tantalum capacitors. The capacitors have been shipped to manufacturing operations and incorporated into products produced by Motorola Solutions, HP, Intel, Nokia, Foxconn and others who are participated in the pilot.
In January the SfH pilot was evaluated and determined to be a reliable system and has now transitioned into a long-term full scale project, with the objective of enhancing the sustainably and expandability. Listed below are a few additional activities that have occurred to improve the project:
- The MMR mines supporting the project are the Mai Baridi, Kisengo, and Luba mines
- AVX and MMR have negotiated a long term contract for the minerals.
- Global Advanced Metals, a compliant Conflict-Free Smelter will also process material along with F&X
- The number of participants continues to grow
The conflict-free tantalum passes through several steps before being placed into products. The initial key partners in the Solutions for Hope Project have verified the steps of the chain of custody and followed the supply chain route to ensure the conflict-free sourced tantalum is what is received in our products.
- Prior to initiating the program several due diligence steps were taken. First was a review of the mine by the iTSCi process and Pact to determine the conflict free status of the mine. After this was confirmed, the mine began the traceability process of bagging and tagging.
- Once the mines began processing the materials and prior to the initiation of the Solutions for Hope (SfH) project, an independent audit of the operations was conducted to evaluate conformance of the operation to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance. This work was conducted by Gregory Mthembu-Salter, a consultant to the United Nations Group of Experts. The findings indicated that the mine and trade routes were indeed conflict free, but also highlighted areas for improvement to the mining operations systems.
- The mining operations have hired a consultant to help address the system improvement opportunities identified in the report. AVX also engaged with Green Horizons and Estelle Levin to assist in the MMR management structure development. There also are a number of analytical checks by an independent organization, Alfred H Knight, which AVX conducts to validate the traceability mechanisms and quality assurance. Samples are taken at the mine; the depot at the point of export; the warehouse in Johannesburg, South Africa; or Alex Stewert in the case of Der es Salaam and again at the smelter.
- The F&X smelter is compliant to the Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS) program and has successfully undergone their annual re-audit. The smelter has the ability to “semi-batch” treat materials so that these materials can be tracked separately through the smelting process to ensure that the conflict-free materials from the DRC are sent to AVX
- As part of the due diligence process all initial points in the process have been visited. This includes the mines, trade route, point of export from the DRC, the F&X smelter and the AVX facility.