IMPACT’s Scaling Up project aims to enable scalable and sustainable artisanal mineral supply chains by encouraging artisanal gold traders in Côte d’Ivoire to participate in responsible resourcing. The project will test an open-pipe sourcing model to provide a stable and consistent supply of responsible minerals to downstream market actors.
A key challenge to scaling or making responsible sourcing initiatives in the artisanal gold mining sector sustainable is the competition they encounter from the informal gold trade, which is largely driven by complex and dispersed networks of small and large traders.
Few initiatives have tried to incorporate traders, as their informality and tendency to source from multiple miners and mine sites, with little transparency or information collected, makes the implementation of due diligence a challenge. This, in combination with the lack of incentives or an enabling environment to use formal sales channels, has led the majority of responsible sourcing initiatives to simply cut traders out of their chains, relying on a closed-pipe, single source model. Yet, closed-pipe models bring about their own challenges for viability, such as smaller volumes and difficulties with export.
Without their involvement, traders are likely to remain an obstacle to many efforts to implement legal trade and competition for responsible sourcing initiatives.
The project builds upon IMPACT’s work in Côte d’Ivoire to build a traceable and legal artisanal gold supply chain, through the Just Gold project. Between 2020 and 2022, IMPACT supported COOPEDA, a mining cooperative in Dabakala to implement the Just Gold traceability and due diligence system. Over the course of the project, the cooperative produced 27 kg of traceable and legal gold—and marked the first export of legal, artisanal Ivorian gold to the international market with a purchase by an LBMA refiner.
The Scaling Up project will continue to support the work of COOPEDA in ensuring traceable and legal artisanal gold across several mine sites, while working directly with traders. Incentives to encourage traders to participate in the legal and traceable gold trade will be identified and delivered. Both digital and traditional tools that facilitate data sharing and incentives will be tested to encourage trader participation.
Lessons learned within the Scaling Up project will be documented to inform the scaling efforts of other responsible sourcing initiatives globally.
IMPACT is collaborating with Solidaridad, along with COOPEDA, an Ivorian artisanal mining cooperative, and SICOM, a gold exporter in Côte d’Ivoire to implement Scaling Up.
Scaling Up is funded by the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM).