Based on field research at mines and in regional capitals, Enough Project completed a report discussing solutions to the illicit conflict gold supply chain from eastern Congo. This trade is worth approximately $400 million per year, according to the U.N. Group of Experts. There is new, growing momentum to address the trade, with 69 refiners, including all of the world’s nine largest, having passed third-party audits on conflict sourcing. Recommendations to help increase the conflict-free, formalized trade include:
- Suspend gold certification until it is credible. The United States and other donors should urge Congo’s Mining Ministry to halt the issuance of ICGLR certificates for gold exports until key steps are taken that would make the process compliant with ICGLR standards. Those steps include the validation of a sizeable number of gold mines and the adoption of a viable traceability scheme for gold.
- Support and formalize artisanal mining. The European Union, as it moves forward on conflict minerals regulation, should provide funding to conflict-free mine inspection missions in Congo and for mining community livelihood projects. Congo's Mining Ministry should also allow mining cooperatives to apply for mining licenses.
- Launch an anti-corruption initiative and lower gold taxes. The United States, Germany's BGR, and U.N. Special Envoy Said Djinnit should urge Congo’s Mining Ministry to begin a comprehensive anti-corruption initiative. The initiative should include prosecuting high-level cases of corruption and consolidating the government agencies involved in regulating the gold trade. Donors should also urge the ministry and provincial governors in eastern Congo to significantly lower the 13 percent overall gold tax rate.
- Set up a responsible investment fund. Socially responsible investors and jewelry retailers also have a role to play in signaling demand for conflict-free gold from Congo, and should set up a Congo gold responsible investment funds.
- Sanction and prosecute gold smugglers and other criminal actors. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power should work with the U.N. Security Council to designate well-documented conflict gold smugglers in Congo, Uganda, and Burundi for targeted sanctions. Furthermore, the International Criminal Court and national courts should investigate and prosecute crimes related to Congo's illegal gold trade.
Congo’s Conflict Gold Rush: Bringing gold into the legal trade in t...
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