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Dear <<First Name>>,

Welcome back to your monthly Commercially Viable Conflict-Free Gold project newsletter.
 
In this issue, we are sharing an update on the project's progress in September:
Maniema visit
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DISPATCH FROM THE FIELD
Update on the refiners’ community of practice
Hands holding gold flakes
On September 7, Levin Sources held the first community of practice meeting with refiners on behalf of the Zahabu Safi project.  We have been developing the CoP with refiners interested in learning more about the project and potentially engaging more concretely with it in future. Topics covered included the new EU responsible sourcing regulation that comes into force in January 2021 and the impact this change could have on the trade of ASM gold from the DRC.  
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More about the EU responsible sourcing regulation
Understanding the North American gold jewelry market for responsible ASM gold from eastern DRC
This summer Christina T. Miller Sustainable Jewelry Consulting and Levin Sources  conducted a market analysis of the North American gold jewelry market. They interviewed over 25 jewelry companies and industry initiatives of all sizes from across the US and Canada. Interviewees shared their perspective on the challenges – and potential solutions – linked to sourcing ASM gold.

Their findings will inform how we build a market for responsible ASM gold from eastern DRC. Keep an eye out for the upcoming project learning brief.
Learn more about Christina T. Miller Sustainable Jewelry Consulting
Upstream update: field trip to Maniema to identify cooperatives
Global Communities visit to Maniema
In August, a joint team of representatives from Global Communities and agencies from across the DRC government visited sites in south Maniema to conduct an initial assessment of their capacity and production levels. The report produced a range of shared recommendations that will allow the Zahabu Safi team to widen the pool of cooperatives with which it could potentially partner.
IN THE PIPELINE
Look out for early findings from our research and analysis on transport and logistics, security and insurance for ASM gold from the DRC.
LEARNING
Choosing where to work
ASM miners in Maniema
The consortium has finalized and applied its three-phase site selection process. This starts with a high-level site screening (phase 1) before carrying out site and market evaluations (phase 2) and ends with the final scoring and selection (phase 3).
 
The project uses an objective scorecard that assesses performance against nine key performance areas including site status/legality, security, human rights, state actors’ presence and health, safety and environment.
 
The government of the DRC and USAID are due to confirm the initial selection, allowing us to start partnering with these sites and providing support through the Zahabu Safi project. We will keep you updated on progress in this newsletter as well as on social media.
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Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on ASM gold in eastern DRC
Zahabu Safi participated in and co-financed a data collection exercise on the impact of COVID-19 on ASM communities in eastern DRC as part of worldwide initiative lead by Delve. Levin Sources associates carried out in-country interviews with stakeholders in person and on the phone before drafting their report,  available here. Key takeaways include:
  • ASM communities have remained on the sidelines of initiatives to prevent and fight COVID-19. The prevention measures recommended by the government did not sufficiently consider the specificity of artisanal mining activities and their needs.
  • Decline in ASM gold production.
  • The price paid to artisanal miners in March reduced by up to 50% of pre-COVID prices, before starting to rise again in July and August.
  • Official exports ceased in South Kivu, resulting in lost income.
  • Child labor in mines increased.
  • Food insecurity increased in artisanal mining households.
  • Gender: Although we set out to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on women, previously-recognized research limitations, including cultural sensitivities and gendered ASM networks, have limited the number of female respondents who could be contacted by phone. 
Read the report
What is the Zahabu Safi Project?
 
Thank you for subscribing to the Commercially Viable Conflict-Free Gold project monthly newsletter. Launched in December 2018, the Zahabu Safi project is a five-year, $11.9 million project that builds on recent successes achieved by donor-funded initiatives to export responsibly-produced gold to jewelry buyers in North America and Europe.  The overall goal of the project is to establish a viable, conflict-free, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) gold supply chain originating from eastern DRC.

Zahabu Safi is being implemented by Global Communities in partnership with Levin Sources and in collaboration with Better Chain and RCS Global Upstream Ltd.  We work closely with the Congolese government and are developing partnerships along the length of the supply chain with cooperatives and exporters, refiners and  downstream buyers of gold, especially in the jewelry and tech sectors.  We aim to increase investment in the responsible gold supply chain with a view to making it commercially viable once the project funding has ended.

The project's three primary objectives are:
  1. To increase demand for and co-investment in conflict-free, traceable, responsible ASM gold from eastern DRC.
  2. To increase exports of conflict-free, traceable, responsible ASM gold from eastern DRC.
  3. To improve the commercial viability of ASM gold cooperatives.
Find out more
We want to engage with all actors in the supply chain…

You can catch up on previous issues of this newsletter here. If you have colleagues or acquaintances who you think could be interested, you can forward them the sign-up form here.
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