Driving sustainable investment in African Mining

Digging Deeper: Traceability – Understanding the ‘why’, and the ‘how’

26 Jul 2023 | Event News | Market News | Laura Cornish, Head of Content, Investing in African Mining Indaba

In June, I decided to focus Mining Indaba’s digital content theme on human rights. It’s a touchy subject for some and sourcing relevant content and honest opinion took a little bit more effort – but I found it!

We delivered some rich pieces of information on the topic and fortuitously, was able to share the ICMM’s Human Rights report that launched in the same month. 

Why mention this when I should be blogging about our July theme –traceability within the mining supply chain? Because I have become acutely aware, after spending a month focusing on this, that the two themes are intrinsically linked. And so, I have chosen to write one article that combines these two spheres of mining.  

My intention around traceability is to focus predominantly on the technology needed to achieve this, and while this is relevant, I have gained a far greater appreciation for the ‘why’ and less about the ‘how’. Ultimately, we want to trace our minerals to ensure that no human rights are violated in mining, processing, transporting, beneficiating the end product – be it the battery in your phone, electric vehicles , or the engagement ring on someone’s finger.  

Perhaps for most, the link between traceability and human rights is obvious, and while I don’t deny it probably is, the lightbulb never really switched on for me until I had the opportunity to explore the two themes in tandem. 

What I’m trying to say is that no matter which approach we take to the actions we as a mining industry are focusing on, most roads lead to our behaviours, actions, and responsibilities as businesses towards sustaining our planet. Yes, we are miners, but we are also responsible citizens that must respect the people we impact, the environment we harm and ultimately, the legacy we leave behind. 

Of course, not all technology is linked to this, but in this case it did and I have found a new appreciation for ‘why’ we want to trace our minerals, and not just the ‘how’ in order to do so.  

Why unpack this at all? Because it helps the Mining Indaba content team determine what the meaningful conversations are that we need to be delivering to our audiences at our event in February 2024. This has been a lightbulb moment for me – has it for you?  
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