Our DRC assets are located in regions where artisanal and small-scale mining occurs. This is mining carried out by individuals, using hand tools and basic extraction methods. It is often dangerous, particularly as women and children sometimes take part. It also frequently involves theft or damage to our equipment; as such it is a material risk to our operations. We do not support artisanal mining, nor process or purchase any material derived from artisanal mining in the DRC.
We have developed robust due diligence processes to ensure this material does not enter our supply chain.
We engage with local communities, working to raise awareness of the risks linked to artisanal mining, as well as promoting alternative sources of employment. In 2015, our DRC assets ran 68 cooperatives offering a range of activities, including agriculture and farming, welding, sewing and carpentry. So far we have helped, 231 people, who support around 22,310 dependents. 68% of the participants were women, with 10% being exceptionally vulnerable people like widows, people with disabilities and those living with HIV/AIDS. Half of those taking part in the cooperatives are ex-miners; 60% of their dependents are children, who have been able to stay in school because their families can now afford the fees.
In 2015, the average revenue per person from growing crops grew to $400 per season, from $75 in 2013. All participants have reached at least self-sufficiency. Average yields have increased almost threefold, with the average revenue per hectare almost doubling. The new average revenue from livestock varies greatly but has at least doubled in most cases. Revenues are either re-invested in the project or used to supply essentials for residents, such as school fees, healthcare and housing.
We have also started running programmes to keep children out of artisanal mining. In 2015, we ran a summer camp for 1,500 children from local communities, in conjunction with the local educational authorities. This allowed us to engage with mothers to raise their awareness of the dangers of artisanal mining, particularly for
children. We plan to run similar programmes going forward.