“Cobalt for Development” project started trainings for mining cooperatives in Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo

Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo – The
cross-industry initiative “Cobalt for Development” has started
trainings for twelve artisanal mining cooperatives in October in
Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). The trainings cover
major environmental, social and governance aspects for responsible
mining practices. This includes mine site management and legal
compliance, human rights, health and safety as well as environmental
management. The initiative intends to train more than 1,500 artisanal
cobalt miners by mid-2021. BMW, BASF, Samsung SDI and Samsung
Electronics had initiated the project “Cobalt for Development” to
better understand and address challenges for responsible artisanal
mining in the region. Since January 2019, the Deutsche Gesellschaft
für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is commissioned to
implement the project together with non-governmental organizations.
Volkswagen recently joined the initiative as new partner. “ For our
e-mobility strategy, sustainable and responsible sourcing of raw
materials is of utmost importance. In this regard, cobalt plays a
vital role, despite a decreasing amount of the raw material in newer
generations of batteries for electric vehicles. Through this
initiative, we would like to add to our sustainable raw material
strategy by delivering impact on the ground – in close cooperation
with strong partners,” said Ullrich Gereke, Head of Procurement
Strategy of Volkswagen Group.


In 2019, the project began testing how living and working conditions
in Kolwezi’s artisanal cobalt mines and in the surrounding communities
can be improved. The project has developed interactive training
methods and materials that can be adapted to any artisanal cobalt
mining cooperative in DR Congo. “The training curricula offer
practical risk mitigation guidelines for occupational and
environmental risks. They are benchmarked with Congolese and
international law and standards,” explained Steven Hofmann, project
director “Cobalt for Development”. The project implements the
trainings in close collaboration with artisanal mining cooperatives
and with SAEMAPE, the government authority in charge of artisanal and
small-scale mining. “This partnership with experienced artisanal
mining actors is the essence of our approach,” Steven Hofmann
emphasized. “We jointly implement our training methodology and
strictly avoid duplicating existing services.” On-site coaching will
begin in the upcoming months to support technical improvements in the
areas of occupational safety, environmental management and legal
conformity at mine sites.


Creating additional income opportunities for families in artisanal
mining areas will reduce the dependence on their children contributing
to family income and enable them to attend school. Therefore “Cobalt
for Development” has been carrying out impactful community activities
in Kisote and neighboring villages with its partner Bon Pasteur/Good
Shepherd International Foundation since September 2019. So far, more
than 1,800 residents of these communities – children, their parents
and other community members – have benefitted from improved access to
education and new income opportunities. A new, seven-classroom
building for Kisote’s public elementary and secondary school was
inaugurated on October 26. The former school building will be
renovated and converted into a vocational training center. The members
of two women associations already successfully completed a vocational
training course in breadmaking. Trainings in farming and financial
literacy as well as the establishment of money savings groups support
further income-generating activities. Additional activities include
training in positive parenting, women’s rights and conflict resolution.


While the partners do not intend to operate artisanal mines, it is
planned to test at a specific pilot site under what conditions
responsible artisanal mining could be viable. The project has so far
screened 36 artisanal mines to identify a suitable site that fulfils
two minimum requirements: legality as well as accessible and
sufficient cobalt deposits. One of these mining sites currently under
evaluation is located next to Kisote. “Cobalt for Development” is
engaging with private and public concession holders of cobalt mines to
select a viable, legally operating pilot site. Learnings and insights
gained from trainings and community engagement will contribute to a
better understanding of responsible artisanal mining and how to
improve the working and living conditions for miners and their
communities.  This project also contributes to the goals of global
initiatives, such as the Global Battery Alliance, to foster
sustainable supply chains.



About BASF

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine
economic success with environmental protection and social
responsibility. More than 117,000 employees in the BASF Group work on
contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and
almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six
segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface
Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF
generated sales of €59 billion in 2019. BASF shares are traded on the
stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts
(BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at www.basf.com.


About BMW Group

With its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the BMW
Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and
motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services.
The BMW Group production network comprises 31 production and assembly
facilities in 15 countries; the company has a global sales network in
more than 140 countries. In 2019, the BMW Group sold over 2,520,000
passenger vehicles and more than 175,000 motorcycles worldwide. The
profit before tax in the financial year 2018 was € 9.815 billion on
revenues amounting to € 97.480 billion. As of 31 December 2018, the
BMW Group had a workforce of 134,682 employees. The success of the BMW
Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible
action. The company has therefore established ecological and social
sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product
responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an
integral part of its strategy. Further information at www.bmwgroup.com


About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Samsung inspires the world and shapes the future with transformative
ideas and technologies. The company is redefining the worlds of TVs,
smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, digital appliances, network
systems, and memory, system LSI, foundry and LED solutions. For the
latest news, please visit the Samsung Newsroom at http://news.samsung.com.


About Samsung SDI

Samsung SDI intends to lead the market as “a creative leader in
energy and advanced materials”. Founded in 1970, Samsung SDI currently
produces advanced materials for use in the IT and automotive
industries, secondary batteries for ESS (energy storage systems), and
materials for semiconductors and displays. Samsung SDI has its head
office, research center and production facilities located in Korea,
and has overseas production facilities and sales bases in North
America, Europe, China and Southeast Asia. For sustainable growth,
Samsung SDI pursues harmonious growth by seeking measures to realize
its vision of social and environmental values while creating economic
value as well. Further information at www.samsungsdi.com


About the Volkswagen Group:
The Volkswagen
Group, with its headquarters in Wolfsburg, is one of the world’s
leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe.
The Group comprises twelve brands from seven European countries:
Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, Bentley, Bugatti,
Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania
and MAN. The passenger car portfolio ranges from small cars all the
way to luxury-class vehicles. Ducati offers motorcycles. In the light
and heavy commercial vehicles sector, the products range from pick-ups
to buses and heavy trucks. Every weekday, 671.205 employees around the
globe produce on average 44,567 vehicles, are involved in
vehicle-related services or work in other areas of business. The
Volkswagen Group sells its vehicles in 153 countries.

In 2019, the total number of vehicles delivered to customers by the
Group globally was 10.97 million (2018: 10.83 million). The passenger
car global market share was 12.9 percent. Group sales revenue in 2019
totaled EUR 252.6 billion (2018: EUR 235.8 billion). Earnings after
tax in the fiscal year now ended amounted to EUR 14.0 billion (2018:
EUR 12.2 billion).


About “Cobalt for Development”

The project “Cobalt for Development” aims at sustainably improving
artisanal mining working conditions as well as living conditions for
surrounding communities in Congo. In cooperation with the local mining
cooperatives, government authorities and civil society organizations,
the project intends to strengthen legal compliance, improve health and
safety conditions, environmental management as well as economic and
social well-being. In January 2019, the companies BASF, BMW, Samsung
Electronics and Samsung SDI commissioned the Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to implement this fully
privately financed cross-industry initiative. In 2020, Volkswagen
joined the project. None of the commissioning parties operate project mines.

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