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Mineral survey in Ethiopia

Virtual meeting on supply chain security and trafficking of precious metals

Geneva -



On 4 December 2020, UNICRI held the virtual meeting “Supply chain security: illicit trafficking of precious metals”. The meeting was organized by the UNICRI Knowledge Center SIRIO in Geneva.

 The illicit trafficking of precious metals is very attractive to criminals because of the ease with which precious metals can be processed, reworked and placed into the legitimate market, with the proceeds providing a source of funding for organized crime. What is more, a previous UNICRI study has also found a link between illegal mining and serious abuses of human rights, including human trafficking and child labour.

 The scope of this meeting was to analyse how technology can be used to mitigate the risk of organized crime infiltrating the legitimate supply chain of precious metals. Twenty-six experts from industry, law enforcement and international organizations brainstormed innovative ideas based on forensics technologies, blockchain, satellite and Big Data Analytics.

Different technology concepts were shared by Thomas Gering from Nano4U, Nuno Gonçalves from the Portuguese Mint and Official Printing Office, Igor Izmodenov from Norilsk Nickel, Adam Rolfe from Levin Sources, the international expert Robert Schouwstra, Nash Lutchman, from Sibanye Stillwater and JT Kostman and Brian Gallagher from ProtectedBy.AI.

 UNICRI will use the results from this meeting to finalize a Report that will describe organized crime strategies to infiltrate the legitimate supply chain and will analyse how technological advances can be used to address the problem. The report will also contain a set of strategic recommendations and follow-up actions.

These actions complement UNICRI’s previous work in this area, within the framework of the initiative to counter illicit trafficking in precious metals. As part of the initiative, UNICRI released the technical report “Strengthening the Security and Integrity of the Precious Metals Supply Chain” in 2016 and organized an Expert Workshop on Supply Chain Security in 2019. UNICRI’s work in this area has been further strengthened by the Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) 2019 draft resolution, which recalled UNICRI’s mandate to provide technical assistance to Member States in order to enhance capacity-building in preventing and fighting this illicit trafficking.



Photo credit: UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata