Traceability, due diligence system successfully implemented to bolster Côte d’Ivoire artisanal gold supply chain
Aderemi Ojekunle is a Businessamlive Reporter.
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September 16, 2020529 views0 comments
Natural resources organisation, IMPACT, in conjunction with the European Union (EU), has successfully implemented a traceability and due diligence system for artisanal gold from a mine site in Côte d’Ivoire to the international market as an initiative of the Just Gold project.
The Just Gold project supports artisanal gold miners and provides evidence of traceability enabling buyers in the international market to successfully track their gold directly to the pit it was mined.
The first responsible export of artisan gold comprised a 755 ingot of gold mined in Dabakala, a north-eastern town of Côte d’Ivoire, which was eventually traced to Abidjan, capital of the West African country where the exporter is located, with full due diligence completed on the supply chain.
This development is foreseen as a support system for private sector actors to complete due diligence on their supply chain to identify, mitigate, and publicly report on risks such as human rights abuses, forced and child labour, and corruption.
Joanne Lebert, IMPACT’s executive director, assures that this responsible export of artisanal gold is a major turning point for Ivorians who can now count on traceability and due diligence mechanisms for their supply chain thereby opening a window to the international market for the country’s artisanal miners.
In the same vein, he stated that export has demonstrated that supply chain due diligence can be commercially viable for all actors, and is both scalable and sustainable.
The Just Gold project has continued to operate despite the COVID-19 pandemic during which time artisanal mining communities have been severely affected coupled with the continuous drop of gold prices and increase in cost of living.
However, the Just Gold project assures the cooperative and its members to be paid a fixed price which will be calculated based on a method which minimizes the impact of local price fluctuations in times of crisis.
According to Jobst von Kirchmann, the ambassador of the European Union in Côte d’Ivoire, the Just Gold project offers Côte d’Ivoire unexplored opportunities for economic activity and development to thrive .
He further noted that in present times, consumers and the private sector are paying more attention to the conditions in which their products are manufactured and when they purchase gold, they want to be sure it isn’t tied to illicit trade or human rights violations.
He posited that the Ivorian government recognizes the importance of due diligence in contributing to sustainable development and increasing artisanal gold production, and is taking important steps in this direction which is believed to be even more important given that under new European regulations coming into force in 2021, European importers of minerals inclusive of gold will be required to complete due diligence on their supply chain.
The Just Gold project was first successfully implemented in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2017. The project offers incentives for artisanal gold miners to channel their product to legal exporters and eventually, responsible consumers. The European Union has so far provided €1.5 million for the project, which will be implemented in Côte d’Ivoire for a period of two and a half years.
The Francophone country’s ministry of mines and geology reported that the government lost 479.22 billion CFA (approximately €730.5 million) due to illegal gold mining.
Despite staunch speculations that there are over 240 illegal gold mining sites across the country, mined by tens of thousands of unlicensed miners, an increase in the artisan gold production sector has seen Côte d’Ivoire rise to become the current 7th largest gold producer in Africa.