CRAFT Code for Risk Mitigation in Mining Facilitates Responsible Sourcing of Minerals

02 October 2018

The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and RESOLVE have released a code to facilitate increased responsible sourcing from artisanal miners. Solidaridad was involved in the development of the CRAFT Code. The CRAFT Code allows Solidaridad project mines - as well as many other artisanal and small-scale mines - to be recognized as operating responsibly. For miners, this new code can provide the very necessary gateway into the formal market. Until now this was only possible through international certification against standards which are difficult to achieve for many small-scale miners, as it requires significant financial investments, time and training.

The Code of Risk mitigation for Artisanal and small-scale miners engaging in Formal Trade (CRAFT) helps to bridge the gap between legitimate artisanal producers and refiners, jewelers, electronics companies, banks, and other supply chain actors. The code helps both buyers and miners to assess critical social and environmental risks – such as child labour, illicit trade, and uncontrolled use of chemicals, among others – in artisanal supply chains. The code is progressive, defining clear criteria for critical risks while assessing opportunities for – and making commitments to – mitigate risks and improve on other social, environmental and safety practices.

A guide for miners and buyers

Artisanal miners produce 20% of the world’s gold, but the complexities of risk management for artisanal sources often deter refiners, brands, and other customers committed to responsible supply chain management. At the same time, international norms such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) minerals sourcing guidance encourage proactive engagement with the artisanal sector to support development. While general guidance exists, along with leadership-level standards for top-performing mines such as Fairmined and Fairtrade, there has not been a set of objective criteria for baseline “market acceptability” of artisanal gold.

“For global minerals supply chains, change and market engagement is most critically needed in the places that face the greatest challenges,” said Jennifer Peyser, director of the Ethical Resource Program at RESOLVE. “CRAFT is innovative as a multi-stakeholder vetted, open source tool to help companies support the economies of artisanal communities, while following good risk management practice and ensuring they are not contributing to illicit trade or human rights abuses.”

At the same time, CRAFT offers a road map to help artisanal miners understand practices and systems needed to engage with global markets, thereby offering access to legitimate buyers and better trading conditions. In 2017 and 2018, ARM piloted the code at two artisanal gold sites in Colombia, including a women’s association who recently completed their first CRAFT sale in July to a local refiner who supplies global refiners. The code can be used by implementing organizations to support their work in formalizing and improving conditions for artisanal miners who live in vulnerable situations and their communities.

Support from sector leaders

CRAFT was designed to closely reflect the risks outlined in the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, as well as other major issues of concern from industry and civil society.

The code was developed under guidance from:

  • artisanal miners from five countries
  • non-profit organizations like Pact and Solidaridad who work directly with miners
  • industry organizations such as the London Bullion Market Association, Responsible Jewellery Council, Intel, Responsible Minerals Initiative, Swiss Better Gold Association, Valcambi, and Argor-Heraeus
  • The United Nations Environment Programme
  • The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance
  • and several independent technical experts.

“We see CRAFT as one of the cornerstones to drive responsible ASM mining and sourcing,” said Simone Knobloch, COO of Valcambi, a gold refinery. “It is the first industry tool that empowers miners to understand the market sourcing and due diligence requirements, assess their practices and how to address potential gaps, so that they can comply and report conformance with those needs, while providing supply chain actors with the instrument to engage with miners. It will facilitate due diligence by all along the value chain. Using CRAFT schemes, we will be able to support mines improve their practices so they can access global market”.

Senior Programme Manager for Solidaridad, Boukje Theeuwes, said, "We are very excited to see the CRAFT Code being launched now, as our project mines - as well as many other ASM mines - can now be recognized as operating responsibly. For miners, this new code can provide the very necessary gateway into the formal market. Until now this was only possible through international certification against standards which are difficult to achieve for many ASM miners, as it requires significant financial investments, time and training.”

RESOLVE and ARM sought additional input through a global stakeholder consultation process involving over 400 individuals from industry, mining communities, civil society, and governments from over 18 countries spanning six continents.

To encourage uptake, alignment and expanded support for the artisanal sector, CRAFT was developed as an open-source code and released under the Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 license; it may be used and adapted by any stakeholder in artisanal supply chains under the terms of this license.

CRAFT is now available for download in English, French, and Spanish at craftmines.org.

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  • Contact Information

    Boukje Theeuwes

    Senior Policy Advisor

    Solidaridad Europe, 't Goylaan 15, 3525 AA, Utrecht, The Netherlands