iTRi Field Report Assignment

iTRi Field Report
iTRi Field Report

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iTRi Field Report


This report identifies the challenges faced by iTRi and the strategies put in place to solve the problems. Brief history of iTRi is given then the discussion concentrates on challenges the organization if facing, strategies it has put in place, and limitations of the strategies. Challenges include: conflicts by mining firms, fraud and landfill waste. It is concluded that the only way to solve problems is through good governance instead of just addressing the issues. It is recommended that iTRi should incorporate local and national agents in solving its problems.


Since it was founded in 1973, iTRi acts as a global representative of the tin industry. Through the organization, gold, wolframite, and tin related minerals are traced in the vertical supply chain. To adequately trace the minerals, the institute collaborates with local government and agents. It also offers advice to the extractive companies as well as offering assistance in auditing and risk assessments.

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Challenges faced by iTRi

A couple of years ago, environmentalists in Europe found out that electric and electrical waste was the main contributing factor to the landfill waste problems. The management in charge of electric and electrical waste came up with stringent policies on electronic waste recycling and recovery. Hence, lead-free soldering technology was used. The technology commonly used by extractive industries around and the iTRi organization has been helping the industries in the application of the technology process through research and development.

After iTRi later learned that there were conflicts between tin mining industries in Congo, it immediately came up with strategies to solve the conflict. Field agents were deployed to the affected areas to assist in data collection and documentation of minerals that were considered to cause conflicts and those that did not cause conflict. However, the situation still posed as a challenge since it was difficult to trace minerals leading to a decline in exports.

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Companies that worked with iTRi helped by tracing data on purchases made. The tracing process used two different types of barcodes that had unique reference numbers as an indicator of the location the purchase was done. The collected data was then input into the iTRi data system and assisted to trace the reference numbers from the mining industry to the smelter. To give consumers confidence in the products, manufacturers used methods such as OECD to provide a transparent supply chain for the minerals in the risky and conflict-affected regions.

EU regulates the mining industries to help in preserving human health and maintain the ecosystem. Gaps were identified in the tin mining industries where the chemicals originating from the mines posed a threat to human health especially from the way it was disposed of. The manufacturers acted promptly by forming a committee that was to carry out research intended to find out tin levels that were acceptable in the environment which didn’t harm human life.

Tin is used as an alternative source of energy. It uses less energy and has a low carbon emission rate. According to research, when tin gets added to fuel, it helps in saving energy as well as the reduction of carbon emissions. When fuel contains some amounts of tin, it emits cleaner gas. As an energy saver, tin helps in environment conservation. Tin use reduces carbon emission by nearly 30% and energy saving by about 15%.

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Limitations of iTRi strategies

With all the strategies put in place by iTRi to improve the tin market, there have been failures in its supply chain giving room for fraud. Warnings were made on Dodd-Frank mineral act since it didn’t seem impressive to generate tangible solutions. The bar-code system has faced criticism that it takes the time to fully function and that it’s also expensive.

On the area of smuggling, there is a lack of accountability since some untagged minerals were illegally found in Numby together with tagged ones and were registered as conflict-free minerals. In Congo, only 10% of the minerals were found to be tagged while 90% were not certified. The question that arises is what happened to the minerals that were not certified and how they were sold without a tag.

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Good governance is the only way to solve the problems faced by the organization. It is impossible to have control over the mining sites all the time. Hence, the organization should improve its system rather than address the issues. iTRi supply chain should be designed in such a way that it involves both the local and national agents and not only involve outside agents for information flow.

Reference list

Andrew Cooper, 2015. ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative: Contributing to minerals traceability and due diligence in Central Africa.

Industrial Technology Research Institute (2014). ITRI Today.

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