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Society Artisanal partners with Minespider to track conflict-free gold from the DRC

KINSHASA, June 6, 2024 – Society Artisanal, an organisation that aims to export conflict-free artisanal gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC], has announced its partnership with Minespider, a technology company offering a blockchain-based traceability platform and digital product passports to implement traceability and prove provenance and sustainable production of gold.

Society Artisanal produces clean and conflict-free gold by partnering with artisanal mining cooperatives. They are developing professional mine management practices, improving mineral extraction methods and ensuring that all safety and health, environmental and sustainability norms are met in line with international regulation standards such as the OECD Annex II Due Diligence Guidance and in particular guidelines of US and EU law, Dodd-Frank Act and the EU law on Conflict Minerals.

The gold is only sourced from Society Artisanal led mine sites with supervision by third-party due diligence organisations then smelted into branded ingot bars, stamped with a unique number and mine site ID and prepared for export to L’Orfebre gold refinery in Europe.

Minespider’s blockchain-based platform and digital product passports help to collect and communicate provenance data and other critical information about the gold in a transparent and secure way. Society Artisanal will use the platform and digital product passport to track gold from the mine to its smelting facility with further plans to scale traceability beyond the refineries. The first blockchain-traced shipment will be exported in June 2024.

“Every mineral should have a passport, and gold is no exception. The DRC has been perceived as a conflict region for a long time, so many companies avoid sourcing minerals from the region. However, the situation is evolving thanks to organisations like Society Artisanal that drive sustainable mining practices in the region, together with local miners, and ensure that gold is conflict-free and produced in accordance with all international standards, including Conflict-free regulations and the EU Critical Minerals Act,” Nathan Williams, Founder and CEO of Minespider, said.

“Society Artisanal expresses deep gratitude for the invaluable collaboration with Minespider,” stated Jason Clarke, CEO of Society Artisanal. “Our recent successful conflict-free, artisanal gold export from DRC exemplifies our unwavering dedication to ethical mining practices which ensures the longevity of our mineral supply chains.

“In a landscape where the rhetoric of ‘responsible sourcing’ often lacks substance, Society Artisanal has taken decisive action by partnering with Minespider in order to implement blockchain technology across all our mining operations, thus establishing a transparent and trustworthy traceability system for every ounce of gold exported. As we pioneer this path within the DRC, the future looks bright for Society Artisanal and for those who entrust their wealth to this enduring currency,” he said.

Much of the conflict gold from the DRC is routinely smuggled to neighboring countries, where it is then purchased by international traders and buyers linked to a network of foreign corporations. Many of these actors are complicit in human rights abuses and international crimes committed in the DRC, but have never been held accountable for their role in such atrocities.

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