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14 Oct 2015

Valcambi "purchases gold extracted by children" in Burkina Faso, smuggled via Togo, says Berne Declaration - company responds

In September 2015, Berne Declaration reported that artisanal gold mined in Burkina Faso "under abysmal conditions, by adults and children alike" is being smuggled out of the country via neighbouring Togo, and sold on to Switzerland by several affiliates of Ammar Group (headquartered in Togo).  Ammar Group's subsidiary in Switzerland, MM Multitrade, responded to Berne Declaration (its response is included in the report).  Valcambi responded shortly after the report was published and Berne Declaration commented on Valcambi's response soon afterward.  Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Valcambi to respond further to the comments by Berne Declaration. 

In its further response (see below) Valcambi stated that it "is taking the contents of the Berne Declaration’s report extremely seriously and has subsequently and temporarily stopped imports from Burkina Faso pending further research and analysis. Valcambi has engaged a highly experienced and renowned responsible sourcing specialist firm to assist us with these relationships and to review our minerals procurement strategy..."  (Berne Declaration indicated in the original report that it "is not calling for a boycott of artisanal gold from Burkina Faso".)  

We have also invited Ammar Group to respond; we will indicate here whether it does.