The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has exported its first conflict-free and traceable artisanal gold through Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) and Fair Trade Jewellery Co. to Canada.
Fair Trade is a pioneer in ethical sourcing, sustainability and retail of precious stones. The Toronto-based company imported 238 grams in three gold doré bars.
They were refined, alloyed and designed into four responsibly-mined and conflict-free artisanal gold rings; each engraved with a lot number which traces it to a specific mine site in Ituri Province in Eastern DRC where the gold originated.
Fair Trade Jewellery Co. co-founder Robin Gambhir said, “Sourcing from Congo was a new and exceptionally ambitious process, but one to which our organization is committed to and capable of achieving thanks to partners on the ground, like Partnership Africa Canada.”
Partnership Africa Canada is a global leader in developing innovative approaches to strengthen natural resource governance.
In 2015, it launched the Just Gold project in Ituri Province to create incentives for artisanal gold miners to channel their product to legal exporters such as Fair Trade Jewellery Co. and eventually to responsible consumers through fair and transparent pricing.
The project, which has more than 600 miners registered across six sites, also provides capacity-building such as technical assistance to miners for legal sales and better exploitation techniques; and offers project equipment. In return, the gold they produce must be tracked and sold through legal channels.
Fair Trade Jewellery Co. also collaborates with its sister company software startup Consensas in tracing gold from export to consumers in the project that is now out of its pilot phase.
The Just Gold project is funded by Global Affairs Canada; USAID through the Capacity Building for Responsible Minerals Trade (CBRMT) project; and International Organization for Migration.
Joanne Lebert, Partnership Africa Canada’s Executive Director noted that saying it is impossible to carry out due diligence on gold supply chains is no longer a valid argument for the industry as PAC has proven otherwise.