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Dear <<First Name>>,

Welcome back to the Zahabu Safi monthly newsletter. In this August volume, you’ll find:
  • An update on upstream work, including ground scoping and gathering data on the COVID-19 impact on mining communities
  • Details on the launch of the refiners’ community of practice
  • An introduction to our due diligence partners
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DISPATCH FROM THE FIELD
Scoping potential project sites in collaboration with the GoDRC
Hands holding gold
In July and early August, the Better Chain and RCS Global local experts scoped sites in Ituri and South Kivu, where work was carried out jointly with governmental authorities. The mission team assessed the legal status of each site, production levels, their distance from the main access village, security, presence of children on or near the site, cooperative status, and overall market dynamics. Special attention was paid to incident reporting processes.
 
We aim to conclude our initial site assessments in September and will share outcomes in the next newsletter.
COVID-19 data collection
The World Bank-funded DELVE COVID-19 data collection has been running throughout the summer in the DRC, covering Ituri, Haut Uele and South Kivu. Zahabu Safi participated by conducting a survey at 26 sites to better understand the impact of the virus on ASM gold mining communities in eastern Congo.

Understanding the impact of COVID-19 helps us make better decisions about how to support the communities we will be working with. Early findings from 26 sites show impact across several themes.  
  1. Prices: domestic prices paid for gold have reduced by as much as 50% from pre-COVID levels due to blocked trade routes, despite the relatively high LBMA spot price for gold.
  2. Production: production at ASM sites has declined or slowed significantly due to lack of access to key imported inputs.
  3. Labor rights: there has been a resurgence of child labor at mines sites due to the closure of schools as part of the government’s pandemic response.
  4. Health and safety: ASM communities have remained on the sidelines of initiatives to prevent and fight COVID. A high percentage of respondents think their risk of being infected is low, but that should they need healthcare support, they will lack adequate infrastructure and support.
  5. Food security: reduction of income in households has led to negative impacts on food availability.
  6. Services: support has been limited, coming mainly from religious institutions and local CSOs.
  7. Recovery: miners need access to capital to restart operations.
  8. Gender: Although we set out to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on women, previously-recognised research limitations, including cultural sensitivities and gendered ASM networks, have limited the number of female respondents who could be contacted by phone. 
You can read more on these findings here – we’ll follow up next month with a more detailed blog and Learning Brief.
Explore the early findings
Meeting with local mining authorities in South Kivu.
IN THE PIPELINE
Launching the refiners’ community of practice
Levin Sources is setting up a community of practice (CoP) for refiners to explore practical solutions that contribute towards setting up a commercially viable and responsible supply of gold from the DRC.

Hosted by the Zahabu Safi project and driven by refiners, the CoP is structured around feedback gathered from the eight organizations that have already signed up. Benefits include:
  • A series of webinars, starting in September, on normative and legal frameworks relevant to sourcing from the DRC.
  • Support to identify solutions to common problems including viable transport, logistics and insurance for ASM minerals.    
  • Actively informing the design of a responsible supply chain accounting system for both upstream and downstream requirements, so that the product meets refiners needs and expectations.       
The first CoP digital meeting will be held next month. It will be an opportunity for members to meet and will focus on the EU Regulation on conflict minerals and how it applies to ASM gold sourcing from eastern DRC.
Express your interest
MEET THE TEAM
Meet the Zahabu Safi due diligence partners
The project is drawing on the expertise of Better Chain and RCS Global Upstream in due diligence and traceability. These partners will help to strengthen the capacity of ASM cooperatives, traders and exporters to participate in/conduct due diligence that adheres to international and regional standards, and thus increase the availability of traceable, conflict-free ASM gold.
About Better Chain
 
BetterChain implements the Consolidated Autonomous Due Diligence (CADD) framework. It builds the capacity of local stakeholders to collect, compile and report information so that it directly contributes to international due diligence compliance and monitoring activities.
 
Justice Plus, a human rights organization based in Bunia, is not only the first organization trained on the framework but has also played a crucial role in adjusting CADD to the DRC context.
More about Better Chain
About RCS Global

RCS Global Group is the global leader in data-driven implementation of responsible sourcing of natural resources. A powerhouse in auditing, traceability, monitoring as well as strategic advisory and training, over the past decade, the Group has been established as a trusted and in-demand partner for global industry and key African, Chinese, EU and US regulators.

RCS Global Group operates the Better Sourcing Program (BSP), the fastest scaling upstream assurance mechanism validating exports of tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold (3TG)  to be in compliance global regulatory requirements. BSP implements electronic traceability from pit to export and combines this with a permanent monitoring presence at mine sites which allows for real-time digital access to regularly updated due diligence information.
More about RCS Global
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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Copyright © 2020 Zahabu Safi (Commercially Viable, Conflict-Free Gold), All rights reserved.


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