A UN expert on the Democratic Republic of Congo warned a precious metals conference on Monday that the industry faced a “public relations disaster” unless it tackled the problem of “blood gold”.
“There is a high risk that any artisanally mined gold coming out of the country is ‘blood gold’,” Gregory Mthembu-Salter, a member of the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo, said.
“Blood gold” is used to describe resources mined in a disputed region that are used to finance conflict, war lords or an insurgency.
“Because of the lack of supply-chain traceability thereafter, that means that all or any of the gold you deal with could be termed ‘blood gold’,” he said at the two-day gathering of industry professionals in Berlin.
“In short, the gold industry has a major moral and public relations disaster on its hands. Already activists have targeted the electronics and technology industry because of their opposition to so-called ‘blood tin’. Do not imagine that the gold industry can be far behind.”
He said the industry that’s enjoying record prices for gold and silver, needs to “acknowledge it has a problem” and certify where gold comes from.
The central African country is plagued by instability and is ranked among the world's 20 most corrupt nations by governance watchdog Transparency International.