In 2019, Projekt-Consult has celebrated its 40th anniversary: a proud and colourful company history of international cooperation in more than 80 countries worldwide. 5 years ago, I became a part of the Projekt-Consult family when it joined GFA Consulting Group. In these last years, we have tried to tap into the cooperation potential between a highly regarded specialist company for responsible mining with one of Europe’s leading development consultancies. Thanks also to this merger, the company was able to better adapt to the needs of its clients by extending its range of services both thematically and geographically. The success of this collaboration is reflected in Projekt-Consult’s record turnover of almost EUR 4 million in the last year and in the start of a multitude of new projects for improving social and environmental conditions in mineral extraction and trade.
I believe that our job is relevant for a number of reasons: Mineral raw materials are very important in our everyday lives. They are present in a wide variety of items we use as a basis for technical production. The circular economy is gaining ground, but 100% recycling is impossible and primary raw material inputs will thus remain important. Moreover, many technologies associated with the green economy depend on mineral raw materials. As a consequence of this unquenchable thirst for mineral raw materials, the global work force in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector, one of our core business areas from the start, has been steadily increasing over the years.
Today’s globalized supply chains and the rising awareness of consumers of the problems associated with mining, especially in developing countries, necessitate increased support for responsible mineral extraction and trade as well as improved resource governance. This includes better environmental performance as well as fairer economic and social conditions.
Our experience taught us that in order to achieve positive change in the mining sector in the longer term, it is essential to see the bigger picture and tackle its challenges in the framework of integrated rural or industrial development programmes. Together with GFA and its long-standing experience in rural and private sector development as well as natural resource management, governance and fiscal support, we are excellently placed to support the mining sector in developing countries within such larger programmes and we look forward to dedicating ourselves to these new challenges.
Moritz Lörcher, Managing Director
When PRC started working in the field of small-scale mining in the late 80s, it was a niche topic, which gained little attention around the world. I am happy to see that today the numbers of donors, projects, organisations and people active around this topic have increased considerably. Some of the issues PRC has already worked with more than three decades ago are still relevant and now again high on the agenda, for instance, mercury reduction in artisanal gold processing. Others, such as resource governance and responsible supply chains, have gained increased attention in the last 10-15 years and yet others, such as global networking in the raw materials sector and mining as part of a circular economy have recently gained momentum.
I am proud that we were able to contribute to important milestones in the support for a more responsible artisanal mining sector, such as the important long-term projects to improve the environmental performance of ASM in Latin America in the 1980s and 90s (APEMIN, MEDMIN), the publications borne out of these projects (Tools for Mining, Environmental Management of Small-scale mining), the Supplement on gold for the OECD Minerals Due Diligence Guidance and important dialogue and networking efforts, such as CASM. I am happy that I can continue to contribute our long-standing experience and in-depth on-the-ground knowledge of the mining and mineral sectors in developing countries to advance the sector in all its different dimensions, as I am currently doing in the Better Gold Initiative for ASM, which aims to supply gold from responsible small-scale production in Latin America to the Swiss market at fair prices.
In this project, for the first time, we have managed to channel a significant amount of gold from responsible artisanal and small-scale mining operations through commercial supply chains. The difficulty of setting up new supply chains shows me the importance of trust – gained through long-lasting commercial relationships. As we have been working with miners and buyers for decades we can bring in this credibility and hands-on experience in innovative approaches.
Thomas Hentschel, Managing Director