US bans gold mined using forced labour

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Congolese gold miners

Companies in the US will now be required to prove that gold imported from the Democratic Republic of Congo has not been mined using forced labour

It is estimated that up to $600m, £490m worth of artisanal gold is smuggled out of the DR Congo each year, often to the benefit of armed groups.

Sasha Lezhnevi, Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, the campaign group which works extensively on the DR Congo told repoters what the new customs regulations involve.

“US customs can now hold any shipment, then the burden is on companies to report within 90 days to prove whether the gold is in fact made with forced labour or not.”

“There’s a certification process that was set up by the regional body called the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and they have inspectors that go mine to mine to see whether there are armed groups present, whether there is child labour and forced labour so there’s actually a system to certify those mines” he said.

Some 95 percent of Congo’s gold mines are from the artisanal sector not yet certified that is why the US customs agency decided to issue this order he added.

 

Christopher Ojilere