A multi-stakeholder action platform, the Fair Cobalt Alliance offers actors across the cobalt supply chain a pre-competitive environment for collaboration to help strengthen and professionalise DRC’s artisanal cobalt mining sector and contribute to local economic development at large.
Through collaboration – change is possible.
A Disconnected Source
The demand for cobalt is increasing as its use in batteries and everyday technology grows. Most of the world’s supply of this highly sought-after mineral is produced in the Congolese province of Lualaba, and a significant proportion of that originates from artisanal mines. For communities in the region, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is one of very few easily accessible sources of employment.
ASM provides a livelihood for thousands in a country where many people have no job at all, yet it is associated with highly hazardous working conditions, systemic child labour, and unfair trading practices taking advantage of local workers selling to traders on the open market.
As it stands, most artisanal miners lack the means and expertise to adopt safer mining practices. While cobalt is heralded as a key ingredient in our global transition to a green economy, it is questionable whether the benefits it generates are being fairly distributed and reaching the communities who take the greatest risks in excavating it at its source.
Proud Members of the FCA
The FCA drives the development of fair cobalt by supporting the professionalisation of ASM site management, ensuring uptake of responsible mining practices and channelling financial investment into mine improvements. The goal is to make mines safer, minimising environmental impact and creating dignified working conditions for men and women working at the mines.
The occurrence of child labour in mining is a symptom of widespread poverty in the region and is not exclusive to the mining sector. In order to remediate and mitigate child labour in and around ASM sites and throughout local communities, we are working with local cooperatives and civil society to build a scalable child labour referral system to assist mine site operators in establishing effective controls and monitoring mechanisms.
Rather than simply banning children from mine sites, we seek to enable children identified at mines to attend school, benefit from vocational training and access job opportunities for local youth.
We set out to address the root causes that perpetuate high risks associated with artisanal mining: widespread poverty. The need to make a living drives many miners to accept poor working conditions at artisanal mines, often including children that need to contribute to their families’ incomes by working in and around the mine.
In an effort to support the ASM community transition into sustainable livelihoods, we promote investment in programmes outside mining and into opportunities designed to create sustainable livelihoods for as many community members as possible.
Blogging our activities and news since our conception in mid-2020. Here, you will find all our blogs ordered by date so you can easily follow the progress we’ve been making.
2023 – The year of critical minerals
Critical minerals – critical to what? EU and US ambitions to reach net-zero or DR Congo’s long-term prosperity; they could mean the same – but do they? With the war raging in Eastern Europe, Europe’s reliance on Russian gas is more apparent than ever as average consumers and companies face skyrocketing gas prices. This has […]
Connectivity Today And My Journey To The Beginning Of The Cobalt Supply Chain
My name is Andrina Beaumond and in early November 2022, I joined the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA) as Senior Stakeholder Engagement and Programme Manager. On my very first day in my new role, I took part in a week-long delegation visit to Kolwezi, in the DR Congo. A week that turned out to be an […]
Unleashing Potential: How Mining Companies Can Support Decent Work For Youth
This article was co-authored by Ines Kaempfer, CEO at The Centre For Child Rights and Business & David Sturmes, Corporate Engagement and Strategic Partnerships, Fair Cobalt Alliance. Across the country, the Kolwezi area in Lualaba Province is known as a boom town, with swaths of people finding employment in both the industrial and artisanal mining […]
FCA Quarterly Update – Q3 2022
In August, the FCA clocked its second year in operation. With the support of our partners, we made considerable progress in the 3rd quarter in our efforts to support the transformation of the artisanal cobalt sector in the DRC. We are proud of our achievements and excited and ready for what’s ahead of us. We […]
Developments in Supply Chain Traceability
This is a guest blog authored by Craig Woodburn, the head of ESG at Britishvolt, the UK’s foremost investor in battery cell technology and associated research and development. In this piece, Craig reflects on how far responsible sourcing of battery materials has come since the transition to a green economy started, the significance of the […]
FCA Quarterly Update – Q2 2022
In the second quarter of 2022, the FCA has made considerable progress in its efforts to support the transformation of the artisanal cobalt sector in the DRC. After a thorough recruitment process, we are excited to welcome to our team Alex Deprez, the new Country Director for the FCA. Leveraging more than two decades of […]