NGO, EU trace artisanal Côte d'Ivoire gold

Artisanal miners’ rights group IMPACT and the European Union have launched a traceable artisanal gold supply chain initiative in Côte d’Ivoire.
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A 755 gram ingot of gold mined in Dabakala was traced to Abidjan

A 755-gramme ingot of gold has become the first export traced under the partners' Just Gold project, which enables international buyers to track gold to its mine.

The ingot, made from gold mined in the northeast town of Dabakala, was traced to Abidjan where an exporter is located. It was then exported legally to a European refiner listed with the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA).

"This first responsible export of [Ivorian] artisanal gold is a major turning point for Ivorians who can now count on traceability and due diligence mechanisms for their supply chain—opening a window to the international market for the country's artisanal miners," said Joanne Lebert, IMPACT's executive director.

"At the same time, this export has demonstrated that supply chain due diligence can be commercially viable for all actors, and is both scalable and sustainable. Human rights are not only an ethical imperative, it is a compelling business proposition."

Just Gold has already been implemented successfully in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it has protected the livelihoods of miners impacted by COVID-19. The European Union has provided €1.5 million (US$1.7 million) for the project, which will be implemented in Côte d'Ivoire for two and a half years.

Jobst Von Kirchmann, ambassador of the European Union in Côte d'Ivoire, said the traceability will become even more important in coming years due to regional legislation targeting illegal mining.

"The Just Gold project offers Côte d'Ivoire unexplored opportunities for economic activity and development," said Von Kirchmann.  

"The Ivorian government recognizes the importance of due diligence in contributing to sustainable development ... This is even more important given that under new European regulations coming into force in 2021, European importers of minerals such as gold will be required to complete due diligence on their supply chain."

Côte d'Ivoire is currently the 7th largest gold producer in Africa. There are believed to be over 240 illegal gold mining sites across the country, mined by tens of thousands of unlicensed miners.