Responsible Minerals Trade Fact Sheet


Since the early 1990s, illegal exploitation of minerals by small scale or artisanal miners in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa has financed armed groups and criminal elements within state security forces, exacerbating ongoing conflict. International and domestic advocacy efforts have encouraged positive reforms within the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), regional governments, and the local and global private sector. U.S.-listed companies sourcing tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (known collectively as the “3T’s and gold”) from the region are now required to audit their supply chains and publicly report usage of conflict minerals. The governance, security, and implementation challenges necessary for these reforms must be adequately addressed for the minerals trade to contribute to the formal economy and inclusive development in the DRC.


USAID’s Responsible Minerals Trade (RMT) Program works to break the link between conflict in eastern Congo and minerals trade in 3Ts and gold, in coordination with other U.S. government agencies, the Congolese government, international donors, the private sector, and civil society. USAID is developing verifiable and transparent conflict-free supply chains by supporting multi-stakeholder mine site validation, promoting rigorous and transparent traceability systems, providing ongoing security analysis and monitoring of mine sites, increasing the capacity of Ministry of Mines personnel, and strengthening artisanal  mining cooperatives. USAID supports institutional strengthening for the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), including the establishment of an Independent Mineral Chain Auditor and the deployment of the ICGLR’s Regional Certification Mechanism. Additionally, USAID is part of the multi-sector Public Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA) to encourage responsible sourcing from the region. The PPA is a multi-stakeholder platform for diverse actors around the common goal of establishing conflict-free mineral supply chains in eastern DRC.

In accordance with USAID’s 2015-2019 Country Development Cooperation Strategy, RMT programs coordinate with other technical programs to create the foundation for durable peace in eastern DRC and to strengthen Congolese institutions to assume responsibility for their future. USAID collaborates extensively with the U.S. State Department on RMT. The International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau has complementary programs to train and equip the DRC’s mining police to provide appropriate security around mine sites, and the Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Bureau focuses on countering trafficking-in-persons in mining regions.


·         Over the life of the RMT program, USAID has funded the validation of more than 450 artisanal mine sites (free from child labor, armed groups, and illegal taxation).

·         More than 3,600 tons of conflict-free tin was exported from USAID validated mines site (ranking the DRC tenth in global production in 2016), raising over $90 million in revenue.

·         In FY 2017, nearly 790 tons of conflict-free tantalum (coltan) was exported from USAID validated mine sites, worth approximately $17 million.

·         Pilot conflict-free supply chains for gold and the 3Ts have been established, allowing global markets to purchase minerals consistent with Dodd-Frank legislation.

·         Supply chains are generating more revenue for artisanal miners, traders and exporters, and are a legitimate source of transparent tax revenue for the government of the DRC.

·         Formal legal and regulatory frameworks have been established to promote conflict-free supply chains consistent with Dodd-Frank legislation and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development guidance.

·         The PPA for Responsible Minerals Trade Phase II, in close coordination with USAID and the U.S. State Department, is creating links among approximately 150 companies, non-governmental organizations, regional governments, end users, mining operators, and civil society.


USAID Programming in Support of the Responsible Minerals Trade

Conflict-Free Supply Chain Infrastructure and Regulatory Reform

International Organization for Migration

Capacity Building for Responsible Minerals Trade

Tetra Tech ARD

State/USAID Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade


State/International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau

International Organization for Migration

State/Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Bureau

Free the Slaves

Last updated: August 13, 2018

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