From Devex Impact: The mining industry is often affiliated with large-scale operations and massive capital investments, but small scale miners form the bulk of the sector. Artisanal miners — mainly in developing countries — number approximately 100 million worldwide. This year marks five years since the passage of the controversial Dodd-Frank Act (D-F). It was intended to boost transparency and crack down on the number of conflict minerals whose proceeds have fueled conflict in the region. It has achieved measurable results. According to NGO Pact — a partner of a monitoring system that traces conflict minerals — more than 90% of the 3T minerals coming from the DRC’s Great Lakes region are deemed conflict-free.
But D-F has also been the target of fierce criticism. Many say it grossly misinterprets the relationship between mining activities and the origins of the long-standing conflict in the DRC. To ease the consciences of Western consumers, thousands of artisanal miners are paying the price of lower demand and reduced earnings. Further downstream, equipment manufacturers face hefty compliance costs imposed by D-F which affects their procurement of minerals from the DRC region. However, while much of the criticism of D-F is deserved and civil society continues to advocate for a more equitable application, it has drawn attention to the need for greater accountability and traceability across a wider set livelihood issues affecting artisanal miners.
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