The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the world’s largest producer of cobalt and holds more than 50 percent of the global cobalt reserves. Cobalt is used in lithium-ion batteries that form an integral part of electric automobiles, mobile phones and laptop computers. Demand for cobalt is expected to rise significantly over the coming years. Cobalt is extracted in mechanized and artisanal mining operations. Multiple reports have highlighted concerns over social and environmental impacts of cobalt extraction, including child labor and unsafe working conditions in artisanal cobalt mining.
To learn more about the RMI’s work on ASM cobalt, see here.
What We Do
The RMI added cobalt as a dedicated focus area in 2017. We work to create the enabling conditions for companies to exercise due diligence over cobalt supply chains in accordance with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance.
- The RMI provides tools and resources for companies to conduct due diligence on cobalt supply chains in accordance with the internationally recognized frameworks of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance and the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights.
- The RMI’s Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP) provides independent third-party assessments through an OECD-aligned industry mechanism for crude and fine cobalt refiners.
- The RMI engages stakeholders along the cobalt and battery value chains to ensure the complementarity of programs and works toward their alignment with market expectations.
- The RMI supports projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to monitor artisanal mine sites in an effort to link on-the-ground efforts to independent third-party assessments of crude and fine refiners and looks to scale these efforts.
- Provide financial contributions to support the expansion of mine monitoring to ASM cobalt sites in the DRC.
Better Mining Program
Better Mining is an ASM mine monitoring program that collects and analyses digital responsible sourcing data on ASM sites and translates this data into quantifiable improvements on and around those sites. The Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) has partnered with RCS Global Group (RCS) to deploy the program at copper and cobalt ASM sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
If you have any questions, please contact RMI@responsiblebusiness.org.
What You Can Do
The RMI encourages companies to use the following programs, tools and resources to support their due diligence on cobalt supply chains:
- Map your supply chain using the Extended Minerals Reporting Template.
- Read the Cobalt Refiner Supply Chain Due Diligence Standard to know more about expectations for cobalt refiners, mechanized and artisanal mines in cobalt supply chains.
- Consult the list of Active Cobalt Refiners and Conformant Cobalt Refiners to learn about entities that undergo an independent third-party assessment of the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process.
- Visit the RMI’s eLearning Academy and training page for publicly available training sessions for your company, your suppliers and cobalt refiners on due diligence in cobalt supply chains.
- Use the Risk Readiness Assessment to access self-assessments of cobalt refiners and producers on key social, environmental and governance issue areas.
- As an RMI member, join our Cobalt Workgroup to shape the tools and resources developed for due diligence on cobalt supply chains as well as access to reports from our on the ground activities.
Engage peers, industry organizations and stakeholders to develop, share and utilize tools and resources for responsible minerals sourcing.
For more information, please contact RMI@responsiblebusiness.org.