Research has shown that high taxes and complex administrative burdens are driving gold smuggling in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

While IMPACT implemented the Just Gold project which brought conflict-free, traceable, and legal gold from DRC to international market—the country’s high taxes often pushed the price of gold beyond what the industry was willing to pay, creating a barrier to commercial viability. Additionally, IMPACT documented the onerous administrative steps to export gold, which were complex and often lacked clarity.

Between 2017 and 2019, when accompanying the cooperative and exporter through the export process, the Just Gold project documented 26 steps involving multiple agencies and government representatives, some who had to be visited multiple times over a two-week period. At the point of export in Ituri Province, 12 percent was paid by supply chain actors to export gold from the Just Gold project.

During the same time period—in neighbouring Uganda, there was only a 5 percent royalty on the value of the amount mined, rather than an export tax. IMPACT’s 2020 report, The Intermediaries: Traders Who Threaten the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Efforts for Conflict-Free Gold, found that registered traders and exporters declare only a small percentage of their gold exports while pocketing massive profits from illicit trade.

Since 2018, IMPACT has turned its attention to addressing this key barrier of responsible production and trade of artisanal gold in DRC.

Through a series of workshops, IMPACT has aimed to improve understanding of taxes and fees along the entire artisanal gold supply chain—from pit to export. Five workshops in Ituri Province and four in DRC’s capital, Kinshasa, brought together policymakers, officials from state services, artisanal miners, traders, exporters, and civil society to discuss the various taxes, fees, and administrative steps currently in place.

Based on these workshops, IMPACT has developed four technical notes (available in French) making available a list of agreed upon taxes, fees, and administrative procedures for:

The four technical notes have been developed based on DRC’s national legislation and provincial legislation in Ituri.

The goal is to develop a shared understanding of legally required taxes, fees, and administrative steps in DRC to decrease corruption, as well as improve transparency.