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Vol 61 No 13

Published 25th June 2020


A golden hoard

Artisanal gold production funds local militias and is exported from neighbouring countries. A UN report invites more scrutiny of the trade

Artisanal gold exports from eastern Congo-Kinshasa have been high for some time, but no formal figures are available because nearly all production is unrecorded and informal. Between 10 and 15 tonnes of gold a year – worth around US$830 million – has been a typical estimate. The UN’s Group of Experts on Democratic Republic of Congo (GoE) suggests in its latest report that the real figure may be much higher. It estimates that gold-refining capacity in the Great Lakes region is 337.6 tonnes per year. The refineries are not operating at full capacity but even if they were only working at 25% of capacity, that would still mean 85 tonnes of gold is being mined a year, six times the current estimate.

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