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.
Copper production from top ten companies to increase by 3.8%
Copper production from the world’s top companies is set to increase by up to 3.8% this year, following a fall of 0.2% in 2020, GlobalData analysis reveals. Last year’s marginal slump saw production drop to 11.76 million tonnes (Mt).
The initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mining operations was immense, however, six of the ten largest copper producers succeeded in increasing output last year. In 2021, copper production from the top ten copper companies is expected to bounce back, rising by up to 3.8%, to reach 12.2Mt, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The highest increase in copper production was by Canada’s First Quantum, which, despite all the challenges, reported 10.4% growth in 2020. The company’s Sentinel mine in Zambia and Cobre Panama were key contributors to this growth. While the latter remained under care and maintenance between April and August 2020, it delivered record production levels during the subsequent months.
Codelco, the world’s largest producer of the red metal used in electric vehicles, also bucked the trend.
Vinneth Bajaj, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, commented: “Despite Codelco reporting over 3,400 active cases during July 2020, the company achieved 1.2% growth in its production in 2020. The company implemented a four-phase plan, as part of the COVID-19 measures, to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while also avoiding any significant impact to its copper output.”
Although the overall impact was minimal, declines in production were observed from Glencore (8.2%), Antofagasta (4.7%), BHP (3.9%) and Freeport McMoRan (1.3%). Reduced operational workforces due to COVID-19 measures, lower ore grades and production halts due to maintenance were the key disruptors to output during 2020.
The move towards electric vehicles and clean energy from renewables sources such as solar panels and wind turbines has driven the copper price to all-time highs. Copper has been among the best performers over the last month where metals ranging from aluminum to iron ore have surged to their highest prices in years. The rally is being fueled by stimulus measures, near-zero interest rates and signs that economies are recovering from the global pandemic.