Why we are tackling responsible mineral sourcing

In our first blog post, we will discuss our four reasons for tackling the responsible mineral problem and why it is important to us and the world.

Small-scale mining is unfair

We believe in fairness. At its worst, small-scale mining supports child-labour and is used to fund conflict. More commonly, small-scale miners work in poor conditions with little safety equipment or services such as electricity and insurance. Miners are often tied into exploitative contracts so do not receive a fair price for their minerals. We discovered this first-hand at our previous company, BBOXX, which provides one million people in Sub-Saharan Africa with affordable, clean, solar energy each day. We found that the very miners that dug the minerals needed to create the solar products were unable to afford them. This social cost of technology is unacceptable.

We must tackle climate change 

Climate change is the problem our generation must tackle. Clean technology like electric cars, wind turbines and solar are made with metals mined by small-scale miners. With increasing demand, pressure will be put on the small-scale miners to cut corners. Without formalization of these small-scale mining activities the environmental consequences will be disastrous. For clean technology to benefit our planet, we must not push the problem down to the extraction of the metals.

Potential for impact

We only tackle problems that impact millions of people at the bottom of the pyramid. Small-scale mining is the second largest source of employment in Sub-Saharan Africa: one in eight people rely on the industry. Small-scale mining is transformative. It has built entire cities, and it is an example of effective grassroots development. Small-scale mining can become a development story that the tech industry and wider public are proud of.

A solution is possible

This is not an intractable problem. Through our previous experiences we have seen that technologies such as blockchain, IoT, digital payments and smartphones can disrupt industries, making the impossible become possible. We see a future where miners get direct access to a fair price; miners access services such as electricity included in mineral purchase contracts; tech companies receive digital certificates that prove mineral origin. Consumers and technology partners will come to trust that through Minexx technology, the minerals in their hardware have been sourced responsibly.

There comes a time to confront the unacceptable social cost of technology. That time is now.

If you would like to learn more about Minexx or join our growing team please email [email protected]

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