February 15, 2016 – Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo / Ottawa, Canada
A gold exporter in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri province is the first in the country to attempt to implement international due diligence standards, as they apply to artisanal gold, and move towards complying with regional certification.
Exporter Muungano na Maendeleo (MNM), located in Ituri’s capital city, Bunia, was undertaking a due diligence review as part of Partnership Africa Canada’s Just Gold project. The Just Gold project aims to bring legal, conflict-free artisanal gold from Democratic Republic of Congo to international markets.
As part of the due diligence review, it emerged that one of the exporter’s members had been cited with potential ties to illicit activities in a United Nations Expert Panel Report. For gold to be considered to be compliant with international and regional conflict mineral regulations, the full gold supply chain must be free of human rights abuses and without any possible criminal activities.
MNM took action by suspending ties to the individual. The initial review and actions taken by MNM should be a model for others across the country.
“The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) champions continued engagement and progress as members of the industry across the globe strive to respect human rights. With the first gold exporter adhering genuinely committing to implementing the recommendations of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance, it can become a model for others across the Democratic Republic of Congo to make similar breakthroughs,” said Tyler Gillard, Manager of Sector Projects in the Responsible Business Conduct Unit of the OECD.
Partnership Africa Canada congratulates MNM on taking this important step towards aligning with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance and complying with the ICGLR Regional Certification Mechanism.
“MNM took a brave step to comply with international regulations that govern conflict minerals—first by being transparent and reviewing their operations, and then taking decisive action when questions arose,” said Joanne Lebert, Partnership Africa Canada’s Executive Director. “By complying with these measures, MNM is opening its gold exports to refiners in new international markets, including Europe and North America.”
The trade of gold continues to be a source of funding for armed groups, with the majority of artisanal gold being smuggled out of the country, resulting in a loss of revenue for the government. As part of its Just Gold project, Partnership Africa Canada calls for ICGLR Member States and the DRC Government to minimize the illegal exploitation of gold by harmonizing taxation levels between countries and by tackling the unchecked system of formal and informal taxation within the DRC’s borders.
Partnership Africa Canada looks forward to continuing its collaboration with MNM to bring Congolese artisanal gold to international markets.
Zuzia Danielski, Communications Director
Bunia, Ituri : 15-18 February
Bukavu, Sud Kivu : 20-22 February
Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) is a global leader in developing innovative approaches to strengthen natural resource governance. For almost 30 years, PAC has collaborated with partners to promote policy dialogue and capacity-building—including through the establishment of the Kimberley Process, which earned PAC a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2003.