CONGO, Jun. 13 -- The Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa's largest producer of tin, agreed to support the implementation of a project to track supplies of metal from mines, industry group ITRI Ltd. said.
The country's Ministry of Mines signed a cooperation accord and gave its "full support and authority" to trials to certify the origin of supplies, St. Albans, England-based ITRI said today in an e-mailed statement.
"We intend to start tagging of mineral batches within a matter of weeks," said David Bishops, ITRI's managing director in the statement.
Trial sites have been selected at Bisie in the province of North Kivu and Nyabibwe in South Kivu, with more sites in Katanga and other provinces under consideration, producer-backed ITRI said. The project's second phase will concern tracking minerals and providing information on their origin, the statement shows.
Traxys SA and Amalgamated Metals Plc stopped sourcing tin ore, known as cassiterite, from eastern Congo last year after the United Nations and U.K.-based advocacy group Global Witness said the trade was supporting armed groups.
Congo is Africa's biggest tin producer and ranked fifth worldwide in output from mines in 2009, according to an e-mail from ITRI on May 7. Members of the group's board include Beerse, Belgium-based Metallo-Chimique NV and Yunnan Tin Co. The metal is used mainly to make solders.