A non-exhaustive list
Diamond Smuggling in the Amazon:
Discovery & Reform
In 2004, the Kimberley Process came into being, and Brazil became a clearinghouse for contraband diamonds from around the world. A pair of investigations I conducted for the Canadian NGO Partnership Africa Canada uncovered massive smuggling of Brazilian diamonds, leading to a major police operation, the arrrest of a dozen diamond traders and their doleiros (money launderers) and the wholesale reform of Brazil's system of diamond tracking and KP controls.
Design and Implementation of ICGLR Regional Certification Mechanism
In 2010, working for PAC, I travelled extensively through the DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, reasearching the "conflict minerals" that had driven 15 years of low intensity warfare in the eastern DR Congo. Western consumer products depended on these minerals, but world opinion was coming to the conclusion that eternal civil war in the Congo was too high a price. Many ideas were then in circulation: an anti-conflict minerals law in the United States that would become the Dodd-Frank law. A due dilegence standard, soon to be enshrined by the OECD.
The solution I proposed was a new certification mechanism that would track 3T minerals from mine site to export, allowing miners to work and the mining economy to flourish while eliminating conflict minerals from the legitmate market. The idea was taken up enthusiastically by national governments and development agencies such as GIZ and USAID. Over the next four years I worked to implement this new ICGLR Regional Certification Mechanism, consulting with hundreds of stakeholders in government, industry and civil society, holding meetings and workshops to to build support for its implementation, creating detailed design documents and legal templates, and training government personnel in the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda. At the end of four years the new ICGLR Regional Certification mechanism was successfully established in DRC and Rwanda
Bringing ASM Gold from the DR Congo to Market
Around 2014, I turned my attention to gold, the mineral most responsible for funding conflict in the eastern DR Congo. Certification and Due Diligence requirements had worked to some extent on 3T minerals, but gold continued to be mined and exported through illegal channels. My proposal to the Canadian NGO Impact was to extend technical assistance to artisanal miners, allowing them to increase yields and produce more gold with less effort, in return for miners agreeing to sell their gold through legal, OECD compliant mineral chains. The project design was based on extensive field research I conducted on ASM gold supply chains in the DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. The proposal developed into the Just Gold Project, which over the course of five years delivered some 24kg of legal OECD compliant DRC gold to the international market.
Tracking Illicit Gold leaving Africa
Gold is by far the biggest source of conflict financing in the DRC and Africa generally. Where and how it's sold and how it enters the international market was always something of a mystery. This investigation tracked the changing pathways as gold traffickers in East Africa switched from one country to another (Burundi, Uganda, Kenya) seeking the lowest possible export taxes, before giving up on declared exports and began simply smuggling their gold outright. The international entrepot where most of this gold finds a home? Dubai, in the UAE. My first investigation documented the vast gap between official gold exports from East Africa and imports as recorded by the UAE. My second investigation extended this analysis to all of Africa.
Getting a grip on Mercury in Gabon
In 2016, working for the Artisanal Gold Council I beceame Project Leader for the Gabon National Action Plan for Mercury Reduction. A requirement of the Minimata Convention on Mercury, a National Action Plan develops an accurate picture of a nation's artisanal gold production and mercury use, and then develops a plan for reducing this mercury usage over time to zero. As Project Leader I analysed Gabon's legal and political framework, investigated ASM production techniques and oversaw a field inventory of mercury use in ASM gold sector. With my Gabonese team I then developed concrete policy proposals to reduce and eliminate mercury use while encouraging miner formalization via reductions in gold taxes. These proposal were presented to key stakeholders via a public consultation program for Gabonese stakeholders from government (mining, environment, finance), ASM and NGO sectors. The policy proposals were adopted and put in place by the Gabon government.
Tracking Mercury in Papua New Guinea
The island nation of Papua New Guinea exports about 10 tonnes of artisanal gold per year, most of it produced by individual miners or small family groups, all of whom use mercury. How much mercury, bought where, imported by whom and from where, how much of it discarded into - all that was unknown. My job was to find out.
Working for the Artisanal Gold Council, I followed mercury sales networks from the small pit-side mercury vendors to the mid-level wholesalers to the major mecury importers in the cities of Lae and Port Moresby. I established mercury prices and sales volumes at all these points, and cross referenced these with gold production figures to verify mercury to gold production ratios established via direct measurement. This research was presented to the PNG ministry of mines as a guide to help them plan further mercury reduction efforts.
PlanetGold: Supply Chain Information Technology for ASM
• As a Policy Analyst for the Artisanal Gold Council (AGC), researched and analysed supply chain technology solutions for ASM gold supply chains
• Report analysed existing technologies, their costs, application and benefits
• Prime focus on needs of planetGold project managers to document mercury reduction while delivering OECD compliant gold
• Secondary focus on positive impacts new technologies can deliver to ASM producers, notably potential access to finance and increased market access
Venezuala & Guyana Gold and Diamonds - Smuggling and Certification
• Researched illicit diamond flows in Brazilian Amazon, Venezuela and Guyana
• Report on rampant diamond smuggling lead to major police operation and arrest of diamond exporters, financers and corrupt officials.
• Researched ASM diamond supply chains in Angola and DR Congo.
• As a Senior Consultant, implemented trial program to register artisanal diamond producers and track artisanal diamond production in eastern DRC
• First successful tracking of ASM diamond production in DRC