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Technical Report on Strengthening the Security and Integrity of the Precious Metals Supply Chain

Vienna -


A technical report prepared by UNICRI on “Strengthening the Security and Integrity of the Precious Metals Supply Chain” has been presented and discussed on the occasion of the side-event held on 25 May at the 25th Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ).

More than 50 persons participated in the Side-event, including representatives from Member States as well as international organisations.

The report, prepared by UNICRI, within the framework of its initiative to counter illicit trafficking in precious metals, aims at assessing the vulnerabilities of the precious metals supply chain, highlighting the involvement of transnational organized crime and presenting other criminal activities associated to the illicit trafficking in precious metals.

Based on the cases analysed, the report presents the complex and interlinked levels of criminal actors; it explains the different challenges deriving from gold and platinum group mining and refining processes, and provides examples of several crimes affecting this sector. The report also presents the different initiatives and tools in place to combat the illicit trafficking in precious metals in different countries and regions, as well as the challenges they face.

Main findings:

Illicit trafficking in precious metals consists of at least five identifiable, complex and interlinked levels of organised criminal actors that operate within and across national, regional and international borders.

Gold unlike platinum group metals (PGMs) is often the subject of artisanal and small scale mining (ASM), who may serve as a way to introduce illegally mined gold into the legal supply chain after it is blended with scrap gold.

PGMs-containing products are usually stolen, illicitly traded and trafficked by organised crime syndicates.

Encroachment of artisanal miners often results in violent clashes, safety and health issues and the disruption in mine/community relations.

Several serious crimes are related to the mining of precious metals:

  • Corruption;
  • Money laundering;
  • Illegal migration;
  • Sexual and gender based violence and child labour;
  • Linkages with armed and terrorist groups.

Many gaps exist varying from jurisdictional loopholes along the supply chain, general supply chain weaknesses, gaps in law enforcement capacity, a lack of information-sharing amongst national agencies and international organisations, and lack of knowledge and training.

Some progress has been made in curbing the illicit trade of precious metals through the implementation of certification schemes, which are nevertheless not mandatory.

The findings of the report suggest considering the following to secure the precious metals supply chain:

  • Reinforce national capacities;
  • Reinforce cooperation between the Private and Public sectors;
  • Enhance knowledge and awareness of identified threats;
  • Establish an international mechanism.

Download the executive summaries: English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, Russian.

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