Reuters claims billions' worth of gold smuggled from Africa to the UAE fuels conflict, violates human rights & endangers environment

Author: David Lewis, Ryan McNeill & Zandi Shabalala, Reuters, Published on: 29 April 2019

"Exclusive: Gold worth billions' smuggled out of Africa", 24 April 2019.

Billions of dollars’ worth of gold is being smuggled out of Africa every year through the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East...Much of the gold was not recorded in the exports of African states...large amounts of gold are leaving Africa with no taxes being paid to the states that produce them...

Informal methods of gold production, known...as “artisanal” or small-scale mining, are growing globally. They have provided a livelihood to millions of Africans...African governments such as Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia complain that gold is now being illegally produced and smuggled out of their countries on a vast scale...and often at a high human and environmental cost...Industrial mining companies have also been responsible for pollution...But almost a dozen states...have complained in the past year about the harms of unauthorized mining...most Western companies – and the banks that finance them – avoid handling non-industrial African gold directly. They are unwilling to risk using metal that may have been mined to fund conflict or that may have involved human rights abuses...

The UAE’s main commodity marketplace, the Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC), calls itself...“your gateway to global trade.”...However, no big industrial companies reached by Reuters – including AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye-Stillwater and Gold Fields – say they send gold there...no UAE refineries are accredited by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), the standard-setter for the industry in Western markets...A DMCC spokesman said it has a robust regulatory framework that includes strict responsible sourcing rules. These are aligned with the international benchmark for responsible sourcing laid out by the...OECD...

Governments across Africa are trying to work out how to manage a sector that, whatever its risks, provides a livelihood for many of their citizens, and which could be harnessed as a source of revenues. Some, including Ivory Coast, are taking gradual steps to regulate their informal mining operations. Ghana and Zambia have sent security forces into mining areas to halt operations so miners can be registered and regulations put in place. Ghana, concerned that a rush of mainly Chinese-led ventures is harming the environment, has arrested hundreds of Chinese miners and expelled thousands in the past six years...

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Related companies: AngloGold Ashanti Gold Fields Sibanye-Stillwater