Posted on 28 Nov 2022
While gold is often referred to as a blood mineral due to its role in conflict financing, the relationship between the gold sector, instability and violence is far more nuanced, with complex regional dynamics.
In the gold production hub of West Africa, where artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is pervasive, an increasing tide of insecurity and violence in recent years adds to the complexity within the sector. Woven into the region’s convoluted web of actors, activity and supply chains are criminal networks which link local mines to international trade hubs, exploiting the gold sector for financial gain and power. Consequently, in West Africa, gold is closely intertwined with survival, money, power and criminality. The report demonstrates that the reality of the relationships between gold, conflict and criminality challenges the simplistic narrative of ‘blood minerals’ used to finance conflict, offering a far more nuanced understanding of the significance of the gold sector in West Africa.