Smuggling Gold From DR Congo – When Will Africa Be Free?
Companies are smuggling Gold from DR Congo – When will Africa be Free?
According to Bloomberg, foreign firms are collaborating with armed militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo to smuggle gold worth millions of dollars.
According to a report released on Tuesday by Global Witness, a London-based advocacy group, a Chinese business that runs gold-dredging boats in eastern DRC trafficked $17 million in illegal gold between 2014 and 2015.
The report also accuses the Chinese firm of supplying armed groups in the region with at least two assault rifles and $4,000 in cash. Artisan diggers are also said to have been extorted for at least $25,000 a month by armed groups.
Regulations that are ineffective
Despite several international legislation aimed at sanitizing the sector, the illegal gold trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues, according to Bloomberg.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Guidelines, as well as the US Dodd-Frank Act, are some of the international laws that govern gold trade. They were all created to regulate conflict mineral trade.
While traceability and due diligence have helped to minimize illegal trade in precious minerals like tantalum, tungsten, and tin, no comparable programs have been formed to combat illegal gold, which is more expensive and easier to move.
This is seen as a major contribution to the ongoing problem of illicit mining in eastern DRC, which eventually acts as a lifeline for the region’s armed organizations.
Last month, the UN expressed similar concerns, accusing Congolese exporters of failing to follow due diligence criteria such as obtaining gold from permitted, conflict-free mining sites.
Another important source of concern, according to the international body, is the lack of a competent gold tractability program.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there is a link between illegal gold and conflict.
Illegal gold trade was highlighted as one of the biggest impediments to peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding countries in a report published last year by the Enough Project.
According to the Enough Project, “it provides a large source of cash to armed players, including as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), Mai Mai Sheka factions, and Congolese army commanders, whose troops kill and sexually abuse civilians with impunity.”
Artisan miners in Congo, who often use shovels and pickaxes, produce between 8 and 12 tons of gold every year, according to the UN, with much of it smuggled out of the country.