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Signet Offers First ‘Conflict-Free’ DRC Gold

Oct 28, 2018 10:21 AM   By Rapaport News
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 The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has exported conflict-free artisanal gold to the US jewelry market for the first time, according to groups involved in the project.

The metal from the South Kivu province has gone on sale at certain Signet Jewelers retail chains, the Responsible Artisanal Gold Solutions Forum (RAGSF) said last week. RAGSF and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) worked with several American companies to establish a legitimate supply chain, according to the organizations.

Fair Congo, the artisanal-gold export office in the DRC, shipped the metal, with Asahi Refining processing it in the US, before Richline Group manufactured it into gold earrings. Signet then sold the finished products through brands including Kay Jewelers and Zales.

“We are proud to be contributing to the establishment of due-diligence systems to support a documented, tracked and traceable process for artisanal gold from the DRC,” Mark Hanna, chief marketing officer of Richline Group, said last week. “This first completed proof of concept is evidence of the potential for scalability.”

Currently, more than 95% of artisanal gold in the DRC comes from illegal mining, and is smuggled out of the country, contributing to the ongoing conflict in the country, according to RAGSF. The pilot is the first step to exporting responsibly sourced gold from the DRC that conforms to international due-diligence standards, it added.

“We aim to support the continuous improvement in the integrity of the global jewelry supply chain,” said David Bouffard, Signet’s vice president of corporate affairs. “We look forward to responsibly sourced artisanal gold from the DRC becoming part of the mainstream gold supply chain.”

Image: An artisanal miner panning for gold. (Shutterstock)
Tags: Asahi Refining, david bouffard, Democratic Republic of Congo, drc, DRC Gold, Fair Congo, kay, Mark Hanna, RAGSF, Rapaport News, Responsible Artisanal Gold Solutions Forum, richline, richline group, Signet, Signet Jewelers, USAID, zales
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