IOM Mining DR Congo

The UN Migration Agency (IOM), through its USAID-funded Responsible Minerals Trade programme, provided support to the export of conflict-free and traceable artisanal (small scale) gold from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to Europe’s gold refineries.

As part of this collaborative effort, IOM, through its office in the Eastern city of Bukavu, provided critical financial and technical support to the NGO Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) to set up a model trading counter in Mambasa, Ituri Province. Gold bought from this counter emanates from artisanal mines validated by IOM. Government taxes are paid and the benefit to mining communities from the artisanal sector is assured.

This initiative also supports efforts by the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and its member states to put a regional certification mechanism into place that allows the export of clean gold.

The Just Gold pilot project, which was initiated in 2015, encourages artisanal gold miners to channel their production through model trading counters by offering fair and transparent pricing. It also provides technical assistance to miners to improve their techniques, and to limit the impact of artisanal mining on local populations and the environment.

For the past five years, IOM’s USAID-funded Responsible Minerals Trade programme has strengthened the capacity of the Congolese Government to regulate its trade in the strategic minerals of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (3Ts+G) in pilot mining areas. It has also validated conflict-free mineral supply chains, including the installation of eight trading counters, including one for gold in the Maniema Province.

To date, some 315 artisanal mine sites in the Eastern Congo provinces of South and North Kivu, Maniema and Katanga, Ituri and Tshopo, including 35 gold sites, have been confirmed as free from the control of armed groups. The absence of child labour and illegal taxation was also confirmed. These vetted mine sites are essential to the establishment of conflict-free supply chains that allow markets to buy conflict-free minerals, in line with national, regional and international standards. These include the Congolese laws and regulations, the ICGLR Regional Certification Mechanism, the 2010 US Dodd Frank Act, and the OECD due diligence guidance for responsible supply chains of minerals from conflict-affected and high risk areas.