The two said the additions to the group's ranks would begin with cobalt and copper mining sites in the Lualaba province. With five now under its umbrella, Better Mining is targeting implementation at 12 sites across the DRC by 2023.
Better Mining's collaboration with cobalt refiner Huayou Cobalt has also been extended; monitoring will continue at its Kasulo and Kamilombe mines for two more years. As part of the expansion, partnerships will be established for implementation of local improvement outlines.
Additionally, Better Mining announced a coordination of efforts with the supply chain-focused Fair Cobalt Alliance originally founded by Huayou Cobalt, Fairphone, Signify and the Impact Facility. It will be working to improve conditions at artisanal sites informed by Better Mining data.
RMI and RCS said the deals are the next step for Better Mining in its push to formalise artisanal and small scale mining (ASM). It is hoping that materials from these operations will in time be accepted on global metals markets.
"The RMI is committed to supporting responsible ASM cobalt production so that it is recognized by the market and contributes positively to local communities. The independent site monitoring and reporting services provided by Better Mining is a crucial component of this process that we are pleased to scale with the support of RMI members and other stakeholders," RBA vide president Leah Butler said.
Better Mining was first implemented in 2018. Since that time, it has contributed "insight, understanding and improvement of the human rights, health and safety conditions" for ASM cobalt sites in the DRC.
At the mine level, each site is assessed and monitored, then given monthly corrective action plans. Support is provided to operators to deliver plans and drive continual improvements. Site monitoring information is also handed down to buyers and downstream users to enhance due diligence efforts.