Mandating Due Diligence — A German Model for Wider Europe

On June 25th 2021, the strive to ensure more socially and environmentally sustainable business practices reached a new level. That day, the Bundesrat, the German upper chamber of parliament, the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (Liefer­ketten­sorgfalts­pflichten­gesetz), which is now set to enter into force on January 1st, 2023.

The aim of this law? To better protect human rights and the environment in a global economy by obliging German companies of a certain size to perform better due diligence on their supply chains. …

What is a mine’s main output? Minerals would be the first, obvious answer: there are mines around the globe producing thousands or even millions of tons of minerals.

So far, so good. But what else? Tailings would be a second response. The estimates that there are about 217km³ worth of tailings around the world, which is also a significant output.

However, there is another type of asset that is the basis for it all, determining financial viability, scalability of a mine, and a business advantage over competitors: data.

Mining companies essentially base their entire operations on data…

Seeking a shift from China’s dominance to a more diversified global market.

Do you know what Neodymium, Praseodymium, and Dysprosium are?

Odds are you held them in your hands in one form or another in the past days. They are part of a group of 17 elements collectively referred to as rare earths or rare earth elements (REE), used in virtually every tech device, from wind turbines to smart phones to aircrafts.

And the power politics around them are back in the headlines. After that China is evaluating whether to limit exports of rare earth minerals to the United States and the European Union, US officials that President Biden…

On 1 January 2021, the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation (or, in bureaucratic terms, ) went into effect.

It is designed to ensure responsible sourcing of “Conflict Minerals”, namely tin, tantalum, tungsten, their ores, and gold (collectively referred to as 3TG). These minerals have long been under international scrutiny, as they often originate in areas associated with high degrees of conflict and violence and therefore warrant increased levels of due diligence.

This EU Regulation endeavours to curtail the trade of such minerals that have not been demonstrably sourced in a responsible manner. What does responsible mean in this regard…

Understanding the debates, dates and possible outcomes.

Since the brunt of Corona-related legislation has passed, for the time being at least, the German government has re-directed its focus to the current term’s political agenda (which will end in September 2021).

On top of the list: a supply chain law, mandating companies to conduct human rights due diligence in their supply chains.

They would be required to do this beyond their tier 1, or in other words direct, suppliers. Already contentiously debated in the past year, it had fallen off the radar for a little while. …

Examples from an Indonesian Mining Association.

In our first on Artisanal & Small Scale Mining (ASM), we pointed out the sheer size of the ASM workforce: roughly 41 million people around the globe are directly employed, with another 100 million indirectly depending on the sector.

Varying across regions, 30–50% of workers are women.

These women face additional challenges on top of the already strenuous work environment, as highlighted in an .

First of all, there is sexual violence and harassment at the workplace, along with widespread prejudices about women’s productivity and capabilities. Moreover, there is economic discrimination: women are not usually involved in the…

Exploring the issues and alternatives.

Credit: Cyrus Njonde Maina; 5 grams gold amalgam direct from processing, Tanzania Mine.

is the only metal that is fluid at room temperature. It used to be used in thermometers or light switches, but has been phased out of most applications in recent years.

The reason? It is very poisonous.

can impair your vision, harm organs, lead to neurological damages, cognitive and motoric malfunctions, and ultimately be fatal.

So why are we talking about this in our ASM series? In fact, Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) is a key actor in global mercury consumption, .

In the mix, mercury binds the…

#2 How to explain blockchain benefits to your boss — in the mining industry.

As we are in quarantine, now is a great time to learn about a technology that is actively penetrating every area of economic activity and life.

It is now long overdue that people in the mining world understand that blockchain is not only about cryptocurrencies, but indeed, a paradigm shift for the entire world economy.

And it is happening very quickly.

Tackling mining industry issues with blockchain.

Blockchain technology in the mining industry can address many ongoing, familiar issues — tracking origins of metals to assure consumers that they don’t come from war zones or as a result of child labour, eliminating theft and speculation, ascertaining…

Exploring the world of ASM.

Did you know there is an illegal billion dollar industry, conducted everywhere from the rainforests of Latin America to the heart of Africa? An industry whose export value surpassed that of cocaine in Colombia and Peru ?

Gold mining.

As a result of ever increasing prices of gold, coupled with the so-called “War on Drugs”, illegal gold mining is now often more profitable than drug trafficking, in 2019 in Colombia alone.

More disturbingly, it is responsible for about 10% of the Amazon’s deforestation and contaminates thousands of waterways with poisonous chemicals.


How to explain blockchain benefits to your boss.

Blockchain technology is still associated primarily with cryptocurrencies. As its utility expands into other areas though, one that is increasingly generating discussion is the supply chain.

Modern supply chains are already being made more efficient by a number of digital processes and automated features. And there are some reasons to believe that blockchain integration could further improve them.

An Improved Database

Almost every functioning supply chain involves a database of some kind. Its purpose is to track and store any and all data relevant to the supply chain’s performance — both for record-keeping purposes and for analysis and adjustment. In many cases though…


Minespider is a blockchain protocol for responsible mineral sourcing.

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