Establishing the legal claims to Congo’s gold only sets the stage for the ultimate issue the SARW was attempting to discover – who is benefitting from Congo’s gold? As the two previous SARW reports demonstrated, the question is complex because benefitsfrom gold come in many different forms beyond the most direct exchange of rawgold nuggets for cash.
Throughout Congo’s history, the possession of, or control over, gold or gold mining areas has conferred political, military and economic power – even to those who never physically touch any gold. Without ever digging for gold, individuals and companies routinely leverage their legally-granted rights to extract unproven gold deposits into investments worth millions of dollar on the world’s stock exchanges.
At the other end of the spectrum, public and private donors from the international community are very willing to contribute money towards the betterment of the lives of artisanal gold miners – the SARW project is an example of this.
Keeping these factors in mind, this report will address the many ways that gold does – or does not – enrich or benefit the Congolese people. Since SARW researched the multidimensional nature of the gold business, this report looks at the many levels and layers of benefits – regardless of whether they are legitimate or not.