Changing Mindset: transforming Africa’s Mineral Resource sector for sustainable development.

By: Waiswa Ronald from Makerere University-Uganda

1.1 Key interest in this sector
When I was writing this essay, I reflected on where we are coming from in terms of the profoundly
changing global climatic environment, the successes and failures of the past; where we are standing right
now-wavering between optimism and pessimism-and most importantly, where we are heading in the
future-the challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead, our global common objective, and how to go
about achieving them. As these thoughts were going through my mind, I could not but think of Charles
Dickens in “A tale of Two Cities” when he said:

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of
foolishness…It was the epoch of belief; it was the epoch incredulity…It was the winter of despair…We
had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going
direct the other way.”

These simple words summed up my thoughts process. At the end of the day, it is all about “Choice” and
“Commitment”. It is our choice, our collective choice, whether we genuinely believe in and want to
strengthen and progress the cause of globalization and climate change; and so, our commitment, our
collective commitment, to do whatever is necessary and needed to achieve this noble goal.
Minerals are in all electronics, from smartphones to electric cars. But we must confront an unacceptable
reality, that the minerals driving our clean tech revolution go through an opaque and outdated value chain,
which risks funding conflict and child labor, while African countries are losing more in mineral tax
evasion than they gain in foreign is the most unsophisticated USD 100billion market in the world.
But now advances in technology, such as blockchain and digital payments, give us an opportunity to
reshape this sector, from the moment a mineral comes out of the ground, tracing its journey into bour
consumer goods.

Our proposed blockchain platform transforms and re-designs the value chain bringing benefits to miners,
smelters, traders, tech companies and governments while directly impacting 12 of the 17 Sustainable
Development Goals. We aim to connect 500,000 miners to the platform by 2035 and raise funds to
catalyze the sector.
Securing the mineral supply chain from earth to tech-with traceability, transparency and trust

2.0 Problem
Opaque and outdated value chain for strategic minerals for both Artisanal and Small-Scale Mines (ASM),
and Large-Scale Mines (LSM). Most unsophisticated USD 100Billion market in the world ripe for value
chain redesign whilst positively impacting 250 million lives.
Miner tech is developing an Integrated blockchain platform to transform trading, compliance and
financing across the value chain that was developed and piloted in DRC for Tin, and that we are currently
bringing to other markets and minerals (namely West Africa, and gold).
Miner tech brings artisanal and small -scale miners, mine managers, mining communities and traders into
the digital economy, so they actually benefit from it.
Miner tech provides a complete software and set of services that range from digital registration of miners
and mine sites, compliance information and traceability, production and trade data, digital payments, to
logistics, credit scoring, trading and financing.

2.2 Solution.
Miner tech lead with our software offering and provide additional services and products to support our
clients and create integrated digital and fair-trading companies. Our key solutions are:
-Miner and site registration, Inventory and finance tracking, Blockchain tracking, Login for mineral
buyers, Desktop and smartphone (for users), Miner project manager, Software fee model.
Miner Trace:
OECD compliance monitoring; includes site visits+ ESG support, agent and blockchain tracking,
traceability tags/bags with QR codes, certifications when relevant. fee made of a % of the mineral value
transacted on MineSmart for our traceability compliance support services.
Miner Transform:
MineSmart for mines and payments; Buying centres; secure transport; digital payments to miners;
working capital and off-takers.
Miner citizen:
Miner and site registration, GIS database integration inter ministries (finances, mines, geology,
commerce, environment), Satellite illegal ASM site detection, miner project manager and support.
Miner trading (example Fair Solder)- supply of traceable mineral from mine to smelter, product design,
costing and marketing, sell to tech companies for premium.
Miner Net Zero: Net Zero tracking from mine to end users (EV, phones, jewels, etc), Batch to batch
traceability, Certifications, project managers.

3.0 How the solution serves and in what ways it impacts people’s lives.
250M people depend on an informal industry that provides minerals critical to the modern economy.
Miners earn 3x what they would do from farming.
Environment: deforestation, water and soil pollution, wild urbanization, loss of biodiversity.

Unfair payment and value share: price paid to miners (and also by end users) is low as minerals travel
through opaque, outdated and fragmented value chain to reach the international market.

Un-bankable: mines have no track record and can’t get financing. Financing essential to purchase much
needed equipment.

No services: lack of expertise leads to health and safety risks. Miners can’t access services such as
electricity or insurance- over 100,000 miners die each year without insurance.

Women conditions: 30% of artisanal miners are women but they are subject to unfair treatment. Unequal
payments: women don’t receive the same pay as men and are engaged in less paid jobs.

Unequal opportunity: women typically have processing, not digging roles, which pay less. Women are often not allowed to own the pits or have a management role.
Health issues: poor security conditions on site, and overall lack of sanitary facilities and health issues
with mercury disproportionately affect young people and women given their role in processing. Women
are often not allowed on mine site whilst menstruating and face sexual harassment.

Miner tech solution directly serves all these issues, and namely the ecosystem with the requirements to
log in existing environmental studies and mitigations actions, actions plans and/or to support our clients
develop and improve environmental and impact studies for each of the supply sites.

Miner tech is therefore able to provide a holistic solution to reduction or mercury and cyanure for our
clients in gold for instance, save funds for reforestation and siter rehabilitation, ecosystem protection,
depollution, etc. or help mitigate the carbon footprint along the supply chain.

Innovativeness We belong to a small group of early players in the traceability and fair mining world.
Some strategic companies are already discussing close partnerships as they see our model possibly
disrupting the way they do business, and the entire value chain. The ASM industry has not been disrupted by digital and transparency or fair-trade paradigms yet.

4.0 Conclusion
Building a more creative and innovative world is the ideal strategic program for countries that
have already achieved certain levels of development. The environmental industry needs
supportive legal and political frameworks to help all the key stakeholders to not only produce
and preserve their products, services and technologies for domestic intake but to look beyond
Africa where there is a readily available market for them to sell their expertise &technologies

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