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UN Report Indicates Continued Smuggling of Conflict Minerals in DRC Region

By | February 2, 2014

The Final Report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo includes information about the status of trade in conflict minerals, and other information about armed conflict and human rights abuses in the DRC region.

According to the report, with respect to gold, the Group notes that many mining sites are in post-conflict areas, but that production from these areas is blended with production from conflict areas, particularly in the larger trading towns in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and in the transit countries of Burundi, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. The lack of transparency in the gold trade makes it difficult to distinguish conflict gold from conflict-free gold. The Group estimates that 98 per cent of the gold produced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is smuggled out of the country and that nearly all  of the gold traded in Uganda — the main transit country for Congolese gold — is illegally exported from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

According to the report, while initiatives by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region have advanced the validation of mining sites and improved adherence to conflict-free and child labor-free international standards, armed groups and others continue to control many mining sites and to profit from mining and the minerals trade.  The report states during 2013, minerals — particularly tin, tungsten and tantalum — continued to be smuggled from eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo through neighboring countries, which the authors believe undermines the credibility and progress of international certification and traceability mechanisms.

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