United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah and Dr. John Clarke, President and CEO of the Banro Corporation, announced a $4 million partnership today to help formalize legal, conflict-free artisanal gold mining at the Banro mining site in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The partnership will increase transparency and sustainability while also supporting economic opportunities for community residents and informal miners.
The partnership is part of the U.S. Government’s broader efforts to support the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other governments in the Great Lakes Region to break the linkages between the illicit minerals trade and ongoing violence and human rights abuses. The anticipated activities will include formalizing and certifying artisanal mining to comply with global requirements for companies that use minerals in their products, promoting alternative economic livelihoods so that local residents and artisanal miners have more choices for employment, and improving political and economic governance for responsible investment and sourcing of minerals from the eastern Congo.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the most mineral rich countries in the world, and artisanal mining provides survival incomes to many inhabitants of the eastern region, an area struggling to recover from war and lacking viable economic alternatives. Artisanal mining issues are being addressed through various joint actions by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, businesses and international development partners.
“With our investment, we expect to attract millions of dollars in additional investment from the Banro Corporation and other private sector partners,” said Dr. Shah. “By multiplying the impact of our resources, we can help stem the tide of violence and illicit trade in the DRC, while giving local communities the opportunities they need to lift themselves from extreme poverty."
Dr. Shah made the announcement while in the Democratic Republic of Congo for a three-day visit to development projects with government officials, private sector partners, and members of civil society.
“Banro is committed to complying with the World Gold Council conflict-free gold standards," said Banro Corporation President and CEO John Clarke. "But we also recognize the need for artisanal miners to pursue their work in an occupationally and environmentally safe manner that is in accordance with international labor and conflict-free gold standards and within the framework of Congolese law."