Mineral traceability scheme ITSCI said its standards remain compliant with due diligence guidance and it was "surprised" when the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) on Monday removed ITSCI from its list of approved programmes.
Run by the International Tin Association, the ITSCI is a private sector scheme monitoring tin, tantalum, and tungsten mines in Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi for human rights abuses such as child labour and conflict financing.
The move by industry group RMI means smelters using ITSCI to help ensure the minerals they source are conflict-free will have to do additional due diligence to meet RMI auditing requirements. Read full story
ITSCI is concerned RMI's announcement "may create confusion for companies and potentially result in serious negative impact including disengagement from the 3T sector", ITSCI programme manager Mickael Daudin said in a statement dated November 2.
RMI had previously approved ITSCI based on a 2018 assessment of its alignment to due diligence guidance from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
That assessment was valid for three years which was extended but has now expired.
ITSCI said its standards remain "100% aligned" with OECD due diligence guidance, and that the scheme is currently being assessed again.
ITSCI said it had not refused to engage in discussion with RMI, contradicting RMI's assertion that the ITSCI had not replied to invitations to re-apply for recognition.
ITSCI also said RMI had not communicated with it before going public with the decision.
RMI did not immediately respond to questions about ITSCI's statement.