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  • CNN’s file photo of miners working at a gold mine in Bouda in February 2020.

Concerns over conflict gold arise again


Between 170 and 200 people were killed in a massacre in Solhan, northern part of Burkina Faso in June. The region has long been vulnerable to extreme climate issues and violence. What makes it even worse is that a number of jihadist groups frequently appear in the region. More and more gold miners become unemployed in Burkina Faso when jihadists try to take over control of the small-scale gold mines. It is uncertain of the role gold might have played in the killings, probably not a good one. If people recall the conflict diamond issue that came to light in 1999 and 2000, they will expect the same thing happening again here. 

According to a Crisis Group report in 2019, Jihadist groups have been taking control of small-scale mining sites in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger since 2016 by which they ae provided with an important source of funding - illicit gold. The issue of conflict gold was brought forward before. Back in July last year, a report by Global Witness report suggested some famous consumer brands may sell products containing conflict gold. The New York Times made a documentary in 2019 to tell illegal gold mining has become the most profitable organised crime in Colombia, instead of cocaine. 




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