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.
Empowering Women in Cobalt Mining: A Path to Eliminating Child labour in Lualaba, DR Congo
Gloria’s story, as recounted by IMPACT, sheds light on the daunting challenges faced by women in the cobalt-rich region of Lualaba, DR Congo. These women are confronted with an agonizing choice – to confront hunger or turn to cobalt mining – what the downstream refers to as artisanal mining. This dilemma uncovers deep-rooted gender inequalities […]
FCA Quarterly – Q3 2023
In the third quarter of 2023, the FCA continued to make progress in its efforts to support the transformation of the artisanal cobalt sector in the DR Congo. The FCA is proud to inform you that our team in the DR Congo has grown. We have now been joined by Maso-Esther Kitwa Mutombo and Anthony […]
FCA Quarterly – Q2 2023
In the second quarter of 2023, the FCA continued to make progress in its efforts to support the transformation of the artisanal cobalt sector in the DR Congo. Achieving tangible impact in artisanal cobalt mining communities The Fair Cobalt Alliance’s strategic approach to achieving its objectives and tangible impact in artisanal cobalt mining communities comprises […]
FCA Quarterly – Q1 2023
In the first quarter of 2023, the FCA continued to make progress in its efforts to support the transformation of the artisanal cobalt sector in the DR Congo. A few changes were made in our Kolwezi office. The FCA has welcomed a new country director after the departure of Steve Brewster. Antoine Kasongo (pictured below) […]
How to provide access to healthcare to artisanal cobalt miners in the DR Congo
In this guest blog post, Dr. Julius Emmrich, co-founder of Elucid Social, shares Elucid’s work on reducing financial barriers to healthcare in agri supply chains and the replication of this approach to the artisanal mining sector in the DR Congo. Access to healthcare is a human right. In sub-Saharan Africa, where less than 10% […]
Establishing fair trading practices at artisanal cobalt mine sites
One of the Fair Cobalt Alliance’s three strategic objectives is increasing the incomes of artisanal miners and their wider community. Key to that strategy is ensuring fair value retention at the point of mineral sales.