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.
The FCA welcomes Cobalt Institute
As we welcome the Cobalt Institute to the Fair Cobalt Alliance, we speak to Susannah McLaren Head of Responsible Sourcing & Sustainability, who shares her views on what’s driving demand for cobalt, what opportunities this presents the supply chain and ultimately, what drove the decision to join the FCA.
Save the Children and The Centre Join the Fair Cobalt Alliance to Strengthen Child Rights in the DRC’s Artisanal Cobalt Sector
Both Save the Children and The Centre are committed to improving the lives of children and will bring their expertise in child rights, business, and in particular children’s rights and child labour issues, to the FCA.
The FCA welcomes FREYR
The Fair Cobalt Alliance welcomes FREYR, a developer of clean, next-generation battery cell production, as the latest industry player to join the FCA and recognise the legitimacy of cobalt from responsible ASM operations.
The FCA welcomes Dutch insurer AnsvarIdéa to its membership
Dutch insurer AnsvarIdéa has today announced its membership of the FCA. AnsvarIdéa is the first company outside of the immediate cobalt supply chain to join us. Their decision to join the FCA represents a growing awareness of the issues faced by the ASM sector in the DRC and the need for collaboration across the value chain to take responsibility and invest for positive change.
Britishvolt joins the Fair Cobalt Alliance to help develop responsible, fair and transparent cobalt supply in the DRC
Today, Britishvolt, the UK’s foremost investor in battery cell technologies and associated R&D, has joined the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA).
How to respond in moments of crisis
Artisanal and small-scale cobalt mining is often characterised by its hazardous working conditions that can be found at most of the roughly 40 mine sites known to be in operation throughout Lualaba and Haute-Katanga Province. Makeshift tunnels, a lack of professional mining equipment, poorly enforced regulations, and informal work structures frequently lead to accidents of varying severity – too many of which result in fatalities.