African Gold Refinery Calls For Gold Smuggling End

Gold smugglers from Uganda continue to take advantage of weak checking systems and smuggle gold through airlines out of Uganda. 

Mr. Alain Goetz, Managing Director African Gold Refinery said there is a chronic issue of gold trafficked as hand luggage on  commercial  airlines which needs to be stopped. Mr. Goetz while speaking as a guest speaker during the Mineral Wealth Conference said smuggling gold out of Uganda will stifle the value addition process of gold. He added that the smuggling denies Uganda large amounts of revenues and royalties. 

“AGR is in the business of adding value to the precious minerals and testing soil samples for precious mineral occurrences. AGR focus is on high responsible sourcing of gold, extensive KYC Know Your Customer and due diligence programs,” Mr. Goetz said 

He urged NGOs should not kill the development of Uganda’s gold and mining industry through false reports. He said host country governments are the main stakeholders to promote good mining practices. 

He called for accreditation initiatives for gold refineries. “These are initiatives that certify gold and silver refinery regulated by the government entities,” he said. 

Mr. Alaba Kuterema, Commissioner Mines Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines-Future of ASM and development minerals in Uganda said the mining sector players are faced with many challenges that can be addressed. Kuterema said Uganda’s mining sector is so far dominated by artisanal and small scale miners. 

The sector she said faces challenges which include; inadequate legal, regulatory and institutional framework to govern ASM, poor access to geological information, conflict between ASM and medium and large scale miners. 

Others are use of poor technologies that compound lack of compliance to Safety, Health and Environmental Standards, Limited access to business growth capital that increases child labour, gender inequity and harmful mining practices. 

The activities of ASM create land and natural resource degradation, high occupational Health and Safety Risks, non – compliance to Environmental standards that compromise sustainable mining standards, gender inequalities, income disparities between men and women ; poor technologies that exclude women from certain mining activities. 

She said to overcome these challenges appropriate licensing regime for ASMs  is required including the development minerals, strengthen linkages with Local Government for close monitoring, map and designate specific sites for ASMs, provide for progressive development of ASM, encourage local content and participation. 

She noted that creating and finding alternative economic activity for ASM players is key alongside mining. She noted uncontrolled mining by ASM makes them a major environmental risk. She added that formalization and regulation is key in ensuring sustainable development is a critical need. 

Mr. Johann Kisekulo, Development and Implementation of an Electronic Traceability system for ASM Gold Mining & Trade in Kampene, Maniema Province DR Congo said the DRC Ministry of Mines has been focused on strengthening of transparency and control in the raw materials sector in Eastern DRC 

BGR, a German institution and DRC, ministry of Mines introduced and implemented the Certified Trading Chains (CTC) for mineral conflict materials 3TG (Tin, Tantalum, Tungsten + Gold) 

The CTC ensures legal trade, certified production, and social environmental standards’ protection during mining, extraction and processing of the minerals. 

The goal is to improve ASM trade and supply chains to reduce conflict financing in the Great lakes Region due to illegal supply and smuggling of 3TG minerals.  It seeks to reduce lost revenue in the form of taxes and royalties to Government; lost revenue is a great hindrance to Infrastructure development in the region. CTC helps to meet compliance with the OECD guidelines so as to improve product value, confidence by International buyers. 

At Kampene, DRC, a gold pilot study was conducted. Out of 10 gold co-operatives in the area four were selected for the study. 

IBES AG developed the GOTS TM platform to provide electronic traceability system for all ASM. GOTS TM provides a low – conform tech platform and audit / certification framework that implements secure trade documents and proof of origin system for the precious / mineral supply chain. 

Identity cards with chips have been developed for dealers in the sector. Mobile phones, tablets and computers with installed software that identifies persons and bags are used in the traceability system making it easy for ASM players. 

GOTS Mineral Trace TM platform can be adopted and customized for any country in the Great Lakes Region. The platform can be extended to cover development minerals sector (sand, stone gravel etc.). The benefits to governments are improved revenue collection tax and royalties. He said this system can be developed in any country and can cover any mineral.

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