Tetra Tech is supporting responsible, conflict-free mineral supply chains from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes Region.

The African Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are characterized by an abundance of natural resources, including significant deposits of gold, cobalt, copper, diamonds, tantalum, and tin. However, the potential of these resources to effectively contribute to economic growth and sustainable development has remained untapped. Working with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Tetra Tech is strengthening the capacity of national and regional stakeholders to establish and scale up responsible, conflict-free mineral supply chains for gold, tin, tantalum, and tungsten (3Ts).

The DRC is plagued by limitations on security, governance, rule of law, and economic opportunity, as the nation remains in a fragile state of post-conflict transition. Economic insecurity causes various stakeholders to turn to artisanal mining to support basic livelihood needs as well as illicit activities. Although minerals have played a critical role in fueling conflict and instability in the region, artisanal mining remains vital to the DRC’s economy, local livelihoods, and economic growth in the region.

Serving as program manager for USAID’s Capacity Building for Responsible Minerals Trade (CBRMT) project, Tetra Tech is scaling up conflict-free mineral certification and traceability systems in the region, strengthening the capacity of those involved at the national and regional levels, and helping governments reform their legal and policy frameworks to support a responsible and economically productive artisanal mining sector. Tetra Tech’s approach addresses the root causes of localized resource disputes and helps nurture a foundation for secure property rights.

Private Sector Engagement

Tetra Tech is working to establish links with the private sector to transform the region’s mineral wealth into a foundation for economic growth and development. This collaboration strengthens private-sector confidence in the region’s minerals trade and increases responsible investments in legal mineral supply chains. We support and actively participate in the Responsible Artisanal Gold Solutions Forum, convened by our partner Resolve, which brings together a range of stakeholders working on responsible gold, including private sector stakeholders, such as Signet Jewelers, Richline Group, Google, Apple, Asahi Refining, Fair Congo, and PAMP.

Establishing Conflict-free Mineral Supply Chains

Tetra Tech also collaborates with relevant government authorities, the private sector, and civil society to establish and scale up additional conflict-free supply chains for gold and the 3Ts in the DRC. Our approach focuses on building the groundwork for secure land and mineral resource rights and establishing more cost-effective and transparent supply chains that meet international guidance and norms.

Legal and Policy Reform

The CBRMT team coordinates with a range of public and private sector stakeholders in the Great Lakes Region and specifically within the DRC to strengthen the legal framework, policies, and mechanisms that affect artisanal mining and responsible minerals trade in the region. Central to this effort is the ongoing reform of the DRC Mining Code to favorably address issues of concern to artisanal miners; support to the Independent Mineral Chain Auditor; provide technical assistance to enhance the capacity of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region; and revise the Regional Certification Mechanism.

Capacity Building

Tetra Tech also is strengthening the knowledge and capacity of local stakeholders working in gold and 3Ts artisanal supply chains. To date, we have developed twenty modules and delivered on topics including cooperative governance and administration, due diligence and traceability, land tenure rights and conflict resolution, first aid, gender rights, and labor and environment. CBRMT’s capacity building approach uses both targeted technical assistance and formal curriculum-based trainings.

Learn more about our work advancing responsible artisanal gold.