EMBARGOED UNTIL: Friday, February 8, 2012 at 12:01 a.m. Eastern
Contact: Tracy Fehr, [email protected], +1-202-459-1219
GOMA, DR CONGO and WASHINGTON, DC – This Valentine’s Day, the Enough Project is launching a new campaign and video report documenting the trade in conflict gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Jewelry companies, the world’s largest consumers of gold, have an opportunity to help stop the deadly trade through supply chain action.
Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast, who is featured in the video, said:
“Gold has emerged as the most lucrative conflict mineral, because it is easy to smuggle small quantities for large profits. Approximately $600 million in gold is smuggled out of Congo each year. Jewelry companies have a golden opportunity to be part of the solution to curb this growing trade by sourcing conflict-free gold from Congo, just as electronics companies have done for other minerals in Congo.”
Growing consumer demand for conflict-free products and the Dodd-Frank legislation on conflict minerals have helped reduce armed groups’ profits in the conflict minerals of tin, tungsten, and tantalum by approximately 65 percent. To fill this gap, some armed groups in eastern Congo have turned to the fourth conflict mineral—gold. The armed groups use poorly paid gold miners, nearly 40 percent of whom are children, working under harsh and dangerous conditions.
The Enough Project video, “Conflict Gold 101,” maps out the supply chain of conflict gold from eastern Congo mines controlled by armed groups to the gold bars and jewelry bought and sold at banks and retailers around the world.
The six main steps of the conflict gold trade laid out in the video and an accompanying infographic are:
1. Mines operated by warlords in eastern Congo;
2. Smugglers in Congo working with armed groups;
3. Regional smugglers in Uganda, Burundi, and Tanzania;
4. Refiners in Dubai;
5. Banks in Switzerland and other banking centers; and
6. Jewelers in the U.S., India, and China.
Enough Project Senior Policy Analyst Sasha Lezhnev said:
“Consumers need to know what’s going on with gold— it is funding warlords such as one known as ‘The Terminator’ in eastern Congo. Jewelers have started to work on this issue, but it’s time for them to step up and establish mine-to-market projects from Congo like the Motorola Solutions for Hope initiative. Combined with government action, this would have a substantial positive impact for people on the ground in Congo.”
The video stresses that consumer demand and investment from the jewelry industry is one part of a multi-faceted solution. Other key steps by governments should include sanctions on gold smugglers and aid to help formalize Congo’s gold trade.
View and embed the video: “Conflict Gold 101”
View or download infographic mapping out conflict gold’s six-step process: https://enoughproject.org/files/conflict-gold-infographic.png
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a“3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.