RE: “Mineral theft is economic sabotage” (The New Times, October 21).
Perhaps when the mining and mineral trading sector in the Great Lakes region are willing to encourage a more transparent and robust “conflict minerals” certification and a new business operational model, there will be a possibility to stop this type of theft.
New solutions are available but the industry sponsored self-regulating iTSCi, paper based certification process will never stop this type of theft.
Until more scientifically based and transparent changes to provide real “chain of custody” are allowed there will be little the mineral traders, smelters and governments can do to stop the vice.
The UN Group of Experts, Global Witness, and the US Government Accounting Office, have all revealed the unacceptable levels of smuggling of minerals in the iTSCi certification process.
There will be no change to a process that delivers little economic value to the people in the Great Lakes; it requires more change that delivers real economic benefit to the region.
If we want an end to corruption in the mining and minerals trade then the sector must develop a more transparent approach.
Tanzania will also be a loser as Dar es Salaam becomes increasingly unattractive for importing and exporting our goods to the outside world, and thus because of its unreliability traders transfer more and more of their business to its Mombasa rival.
Tanzania’s arguments that Dar is cheaper because it is shorter to the sea for Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern DRC and Uganda will no longer have any credibility—much better to cover longer distances and be sure your goods reach their destination than hand them to thieves in Tanzania.