East Africa: Activists say Africa Gold Refinery could fuel conflict in mineral-rich areas; company denies allegations

Author: Elias Biryabarema, in Reuters, Published on: 5 April 2017

"Ugandan gold refinery to import from conflict-ridden South Sudan, Congo"

Uganda's first gold refinery...will use raw gold from conflict-ridden South Sudan and Eastern Congo, its owner Africa Gold Refinery said, dismissing activists' concerns that such a move could fuel violence in the region. The refinery, which is in Entebbe, south of the capital Kampala, will process raw gold from the region as Uganda has only small mines and no commercial mine.

Rights activists, however, are concerned about the use of gold from conflict areas such as the volatile mineral-rich east of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, mired in civil war. "Gold which is used to finance conflict might be finding its way into supply chains," said George Boden, an activist at London-based rights group Global Witness...

"It's a very high compliance refinery. We do due diligence for every customer who comes in," Alain Goetz, the chief executive officer of Africa Gold Refinery (AGR), told Reuters. Goetz is AGR's majority shareholder and he also owns a stake in Belgian gold refiner Tony Goetz NV. He said AGR would carefully select its customers, comply with the law and label its gold accordingly.

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