ASM Cobalt

RBA’s CEO Rob Lederer and Her Excellency Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi, Minister of Mines from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, discussed priorities for the minerals sector in March 2022.


The RMI’s ASM Cobalt Activities

Overview

The RMI is committed to a vision of a responsible cobalt supply chain that includes artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) operations that are safe and productive, aligned with international norms, and result in benefits to the economic and social well-being of ASM miners and mining communities. The RMI seeks to address the risks and opportunities related to ASM cobalt sourcing and strives to work collaboratively with our members and industry stakeholders to identify and undertake steps that can enable this vision to be realized.

The RMI’s next steps on ASM cobalt sourcing criteria are designed on the principles of building on extensive consultations to date in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and internationally; supporting alignment with the Certified Trading Chain (CTC) requirements, which are the ASM requirements recognized by the DRC Ministry of Mines; working with our members, industry leaders and stakeholders in the DRC, as well as other industry stakeholders; and developing a meaningful set of criteria while also recognizing the urgency to move toward testing and implementing criteria in support of progress and improved outcomes.

Draft Framework (June 2022)

The draft version of the ASM Cobalt Framework is available here:

DRAFT ASM Cobalt Framework (Also in Chinese and French)

These versions will be reviewed during the DRC restitution workshops in June/July and RMI member and stakeholder webinars to be held in July. Please see below for further updates and information.

If you have questions or comments about the framework, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page.

Timeline

From 2020-2021, the RMI served as the Project Management Office (PMO) for the Global Battery Alliance’s Cobalt Action Partnership (GBA CAP) from 2020-2021. A new phase began in late February 2022, when GBA and the RMI signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) (see news release). This MOU outlines the RMI’s role in developing clear sourcing expectations for ASM cobalt to promote improved conditions at mining sites and acceptance into global supply chains.

Since the MOU, the RMI has been working through feedback from the 2021 stakeholder consultation to advance the ASM cobalt sourcing criteria, establishing a working relationship with the DRC Ministry of Mines, and outlining a pathway to publishing these criteria in the interest of moving to an implementation phase.

In the next few months, the RMI plans to publicly share a penultimate version of the ASM cobalt sourcing criteria, hold a restitution workshop in the DRC, continue engagement with the DRC Ministry of Mines and other government actors and stakeholders, and issue Version 1 of the criteria.

Our members and stakeholders can find updates and information on our activities and progress on this website.

To learn more about Minerals Due Diligence, see RMI’s Cobalt Due Diligence page.

Key Updates

May-June 2022

RMI Executive Director Jennifer Peyser and Her Excellency Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi, Minister of Mines from the Democratic Republic of the Congo at DRC Mining Week in June 2022.

  • The RMI attended DRC Mining Week in Lubumbashi, DRC in early June, providing the opportunity to meet with stakeholders from the DRC government, civil society, international organizations, the private sector, and an ASM site visit with representatives of the provincial and national Ministry of Mines. It was also an opportunity for the RMI to continue discussions with Her Excellency, the Minister of Mines Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi, following the meeting held in Washington, D.C. in March.
  • Over the last two months, the RMI has engaged with a small technical working group designated by the Minister of Mines, to review the criteria in the ASM Cobalt Framework. This review included a discussion around the criteria including changes following the stakeholder consultation in 2021. The RMI will be sharing draft copies of the updated criteria in English, French and Chinese through the RMI website in June 2022.
  • The RMI has also begun preparations for restitution workshops in Kolwezi and Kinshasa for local stakeholders in late June and early July. During the week of July 11, the RMI will host a webinar for RMI members and a webinar for other interested international stakeholders. The objectives of these workshops are to give an orientation to the updated criteria and hear feedback on a set of implementation questions. Invitations for the DRC restitution workshops will be sent this month by workshop facilitator IMPACT Transforming Natural Resource Management. The RMI will send webinar information to members by email and post webinar information for external stakeholders on this site.
July-August 2022
  • Following the restitution workshops and webinars, the RMI will finalize Version 1 of the ASM cobalt criteria in English, French, and Chinese for publication. Copies will be provided to the Minister of Mines and technical committee, and as with all RMI standards, the RMI Steering Committee will review the criteria for approval. The RMI intends to publish Version 1 of the criteria in August 2022.
  • Following publication, the RMI intends to continue collaborations with DRC government representatives and other stakeholders to test the criteria through pilot implementation in late 2022. Pilot implementation will be a key step for engaging the private sector, continued learning, improvement, and the creation of a standard and assurance program around the criteria.

Contact the RMI ASM Cobalt Team