Responsible Mica Initiative
GEOTECH recently became an official member of the Responsible Mica Initiative (RMI). This initiative is a unique cross-sector association aiming towards achieving a 100% responsible mica supply chain over the next 5 years.
Mica is an umbrella term for a group of minerals rooted in the latin word ‘micare’, which means shining and sparkling. Its main characteristics are that it is able to reflect and refract light and is extremely heat-resistant. Mica can be found in a large variety of consumer goods and industrial materials. It is used for lots of different purposes including the production of pearlescent pigments. The Geopearl® and Sunrise® product lines of GEOTECH include products based on natural mica.
Natural mica is mined in several countries around the globe, but mainly in India, Madagascar and China. About 25% of the world production of mica involves illegal collection. The majority of this illegal collection origins in India, and in particular in the North-eastern districts of Bihar and Jharkhand. The local population (including children) in these districts are at the bottom of the social ladder which makes them vulnerable to exploitation. Child and human trafficking often occurs in these regions. There are also far fewer enrolled children who actually go to school compared to elsewhere in India.
The mica supply chain is very complex and globalized. It starts with the extraction of mica in the mines. This mica is than bought by several intermediaries. Because of a lack of control, transparency and traceability in this part of the supply chain, the mica from unknown origin (so potentially collected by children or in unacceptable, hazardous working conditions) can infiltrate the supply chain easily causing it to be used for the production of pearlescent pigments and sold as an additive for paint and cosmetics products.
As a supplier of special effect pigments GEOTECH finds it very important that illegal mining is addressed. That’s the reason why we decided that it was time for us to join forces by becoming a member of the Responsible Mica Initiative. Supporting this initiative means scaling-up models and solutions that have proven to be successful: Together, we do have the means and solutions to eradicate child labour and unacceptable working conditions in the Indian mica supply chain.