Many communities in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) rely on Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) mining independently using their own resources, usually by hand as a primary livelihood. While a significant driver of DRC’s economy, it tends to be an informal and risky business. If not managed properly, ASM can have negative impacts on the health and well-being of miners, and the community at large. According to DRC mining law, artisanal miners are required to be members of a registered cooperative to engage in legal mining activities in designated artisanal mining sites. However, many ASM cooperatives tend to exist in name only. Given its informal nature, ASM (particularly gold) has also been used to fuel conflict in eastern DRC. As a key source of income for armed groups and criminal networks in DRC, more than 95 percent of DRC’s artisanal gold is smuggled into adjoining countries. But when done right, ASM can bring direct benefits to communities. 

Global Communities’ vast experience working with cooperatives in conflict zones around the world has provided the expertise needed to strengthen ASM cooperatives, provide commercial opportunities and create necessary export or other incentives to ensure that they can sustain legal operations independently without continuous donor funding. And, empowering cooperatives and strengthening the ASM supply chain contributes to reducing instability in DRC. Global Communities is proud to be working collaboratively with artisanal miners to find a safe, productive and economically viable way of earning a living without contributing to conflict, while minimizing harm to people and the environment.  

Through this project, we are also working with key international and local partners to help ASM cooperatives and traders identify and mitigate critical supply chain risks, as well as link them to responsible and legitimate international gold buyers. 

Creating a Conflict-Free & Sustainable Artisanal Gold Supply Chain

Global Communities has been working in DRC since 2018 to implement the five-year Zahabu Safi (Clean Gold) Project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The program is being implemented in partnership with Levin Sources and is designed to establish a responsibly sourced artisanal gold supply chain that originates in eastern DRC. To accomplish this goal, Global Communities is working with ASM cooperatives, traders and responsible gold exporters to ensure the people of DRC benefit from their own natural resources by facilitating access to new markets for responsibly-sourced artisanal gold; helping artisanal miners and other stakeholders in the supply chain in DRC to work in safer and fairer conditions; and working with Congolese authorities to create the right conditions for a commercially-viable artisanal gold supply chain that does not contribute to conflict, respects human rights and supports inclusive, export-led economic growth.  


U.S. dollars leveraged from local private sector investing in responsible sourcing of artisanal gold (cooperatives, exporters, etc.)


individuals directly benefiting from project-supported supply chain development activities


companies from the jewelry industry (refiners, jewelers, casters) who are members of our community of practice, seeking to explore purchases from project-supported supply chains


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