This study deals with the challenges posed by mineral flows that may lack all of the requisite export and sourcing documentation, or that may before or during the process of mining and export financially benefit rebel groups, militias, or military groups in some way. This is, quite evidently, a controversial topic. However, the intent of this paper is not name names, assess responsibility or lay blame. There other highly competent researchers and institutions pursuing those important tasks.
Freed of that responsibility, this research has the more felicitous task of simply seeking solutions. The study is thus intended solely for research and policy purposes. It is a forward-looking report, aimed at providing solutions for the set of problems afflicting un-tracked mineral flows within and from the Great Lakes region. It is not a legal document, nor could it or should it form the basis of any legal claims concerning mineral flows in the African Great Lakes region. In light of this, some reviewers have suggested that the names of the various nations of the region should be replaced with labels (i.e. A, B, C) in order to eliminate even the slightest possibility of impugning the reputation of any of the countries of the region.
After due consideration, it has been decided to maintain the names of the countries as is. The first step in fixing a problem is understanding just what that problem is; describing the situation on the ground with actual names is thus an essential first step in finding and describing a solution. That said, in the description of various mineral flows, all care has been taken to avoid any suggestion or allegation that the flows may be illegal. For the purposes of this report, these mineral flows are simply ‘untracked’. It is hoped that this will prove an acceptable solution, particularly for all those involved in the process of developing a system that will enable those mineral flows to change their status to that of ‘tracked.’