Metalor and Eritrea – ethical and responsible refining of precious metals
The gold industry has seen major changes in law and guidance on how and where gold is acquired. Users of gold now look at the supply chain from mine to retail, and at a wide range of legal, environmental and ethical issues, from armed conflict to child labor.
Metalor has always taken very seriously the sourcing of precious metals from regions of the world that are in conflict or otherwise unstable. Our company does not enter into commercial relations without first performing thorough Due Diligence on the other party.
It is the policy and practice of Metalor Technologies SA to maintain high standards of ethical conduct, to comply with all applicable laws, and to do business only with persons who themselves abide by laws and ethical principles. In particular, when dealing in precious metals, we will operate only with transparency by all parties and with assurances of legitimacy in all transactions. In Switzerland Metalor is subject to the Precious Metals Control Act and the Money Laundering Act, and we apply the same principles, expressed through our compliance and ethics policy, throughout the world, wherever Metalor Technologies operates and does business. In January 2011, Metalor became only the fourth certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council having passed an audit which provides evidence of Metalor's responsible business practices in compliance with the Responsible Jewellery Council's Code of Practices.
Metalor Technologies SA actively participates in, and cooperates with, the coordinated worldwide effort to ensure that precious metals come from sustainable and ethical sources, and are not associated with crime, armed conflict or human rights abuse.
Doing business in Eritrea
Metalor has to this day only one Eritrean client which is jointly owned by the local government and a listed company. This company has a majority stake of 60 percent in the mining company.
The Due Diligence file on the mining company was analyzed and approved by the Metalor’s internal Compliance Committee in 2010, and business between Metalor and the mining company began in February 2011. The audit performed on this same file in May 2012 confirmed its full compliance with the Swiss Anti- Money Laundering legislation. Our company has frequent contacts with representatives from both the mine and its owner. Moreover, all echoes received to that day, regarding its positive economic impact for its country as well as the safety conditions, were positive ones.
Metalor is maintaining its business relationship with this client, while at the same time remaining aware of any indications or changes of situation that would require corrective measures. If Metalor had had any suspicion of misconduct, such steps would already have been taken on our side.
Response from Metalor
Following the publication of an article calling into question Metalor’s cooperation with this client, we immediately initiated additional investigations.
As a result, it appears that the article contains false allegations and inaccuracies. Whether regarding the owner, its stake in the mine or the bad behavior in environmental and social matters of the mine and its owner.
As to the pending report of the UN Security Council Monitoring Committee referred to in the article, considering the information we have in our hands, we noted that there is no evidence over the last year that Eritrea has engaged in the alleged activities that resulted in the imposition of sanctions; namely, the economic and logistical support of Al-Shabab in Somalia.
However, we shall continue to monitor the situation of this client and in Eritrea. Any developments that could influence Metalor’s business relationship with this client will be analyzed and corrective measures taken as required.
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