Responsible and conflict-free artisanal gold supply chain in Eastern Congo
The Just Gold project, whic...
The Democratic Republic of Congo has its first responsible and conflict-free artisanal gold supply chain fully operational.
The Just Gold project, which began as a pilot in Ituri Province back in 2015, has officially moved beyond the pilot stage having proven a successful chain of custody from mine site to explorer.
Just Gold please
The Just Gold project is an incentivised project in which artisanal gold miners can channel their gold output to legal exporters and responsible customers by offereing fair and transparent pricing. The project also provides capacity building, such as technical assistance to miners in return for legal sales.
Through the project, miners are taught better exploitation techniques and offered Just Gold project equipment, in return for which any gold produced must be tracked and sold through legal channels.
The project is the first of its kind to successfully trace conflict-free and legal artisanal gold mine from mine right through to export, applying regional and international standards.
The Just Gold project comes from Partnership Africa Canada and the Democratic Republic of Congo government. In September last year, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between PAC and Minister of Mines Martin Kabwelulu, highlighting the support for the organisations activities to strengthen the governance of the natural resources industry.
The Ministry of Mines played a key role in the establishment of Just Gold, recognising the project as a system of traceability and encouraged its implementation.
Signs of success
“After almost two years of testing the Just Gold project with an aim to develop a chain of custody and due diligence system for artisanal gold in DRC, we are excited to share news of our success,” said Joanne Lebert, Partnership Africa Canada’s Executive Director.
“The Just Gold project can now move from a period of testing to implementation and ensuring we have a long-term, sustainable and viable solution for traceable, legal and conflict-free exports of artisanal gold from Congo,” said Lebert. “We look forward to sharing our lessons learned with key actors and to deepening our collaboration with the DRC Government.”
“Proving that artisanal gold in eastern Congo can be conflict-free, legal and traceable is a major step in responsible sourcing efforts in the Great Lakes region. The government of Democratic Republic of Congo is taking major strides in complying with regional standards and demonstrating how the implementation the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains can contribute to progressive improvements in the sector, supporting artisanal gold men and women miners to enter international markets,” said Lebert.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.