Congo’s Golden web: The people, companies and countries that profit from the illegal trade in Congolese Gold

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28 October 2014

SARWatch launches ground-breaking research on the DRC gold trade: Congo's Golden Web

Author: Southern Africa Resource Watch

Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Congolese raw gold -- mined, processed and exported -- circulates in the shadow economy operated by criminal, corrupt and often violent elites. At the same time, other gold resources that could provide important funding for the development of the Eastern Congo and the country at large, or create urgently needed jobs for Congolese, remain locked underground, unexploited.

This is because mining companies that have acquired exploration licences are not prepared to invest in the industrial production of gold, and they find it more lucrative to speculate with their licences to increase the value of their shares on international stock markets than engage in full scale production. With the notable exception of the Kibali project, gold production remains as the way it was during the time of Mobuto, dominated by an army of tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of artisanal miners.

The raw gold they produce is exported, almost all of it, illegally, by eluding all systems designed to stop the export and end-use of conflict minerals – including UN sanctions, guidelines by the UN or the OECD, and other multi-stakeholder initiatives. As a consequence, the conversion of Congo's raw gold into investment grade gold bars for banks or jewelry production - the two main uses of gold - continues unchecked.

These are some of the highlights from Congo's Golden Web, the third and concluding report of the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARWatch) Regional Monitoring and Research project which was initiated in 2011...

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