UN agency to study organized crime’s role in illegal gold mining – by Dorothy Kosich (Mineweb.com – August 26, 2014)


“These criminals are stealing the minerals of the country”, says Capt. Paul Ramaloko of the South African police force investigative unit, Hawks.

RENO (MINEWEB) – The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) is reportedly launching a global study in September examining the role organized crime allegedly plays in the production and distribution of precious metals such as gold, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Although Mineweb could not find a reference to the new study on the UNICRI website, the organization’s magazine, Freedom From Fear, has an article on illicit trafficking in precious metals in its latest issue.

The agency claims that illicit trafficking of precious metals has become the focus of organized criminal groups “in producing countries such as South Africa, Africa, Russia, the USA, South America and China”.

“Unfortunately, law enforcement in general has not recognized the emerging pattern of this global crime yielding high returns on the black market that funds other types of organized crime and terrorism and has thus not accorded it the same priority as they have other series crimes,” said F3 magazine in an article by South African Peter H. Bishop.

Many countries lack the ability to produce and refine precious metals to purity, and have to rely on other countries for such purposes, according to the report. “Due to the unrefined and semi-refined form of the metal, it makes it easy for organized crime groups to move the commodity effortlessly across regional and international borders to international markets without being detected.

They don’t hesitate to defraud customs organizations by under-declaring the true value and disguising the nature of the metal to circumvent regulatory frameworks designed to prevent fraud. This in the end allows for high yields, with the proceeds eventually finding their way into foreign banks accounts belonging to syndicate bosses.”

“The illicit trafficking in precious metals consists of five identifiable, complex and interlinked levels of organized criminal activity ranging from individual criminal miners; gangs and illegal mining bosses; bulk buyers at national/regional level in the form of licensed or registered entities; front company exports and international intermediary companies and buyers,” said Bishop.

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