Date: Dec 2017 - Mar 2018
Client: African Parks Network
Raw Materials: Gold
Location: Garamba National Park, The Democratic Republic of the Congo
Context: African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. It currently manages 14 national parks and protected areas in nine countries covering 10.5 million hectares: Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Malawi, Mozambique, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Zambia.
African Parks utilises a clear business approach to conserving Africa’s wildlife and remaining wild areas. While securing landscapes and carrying out conservation activities, the organisation maintains a focus on economic development and poverty alleviation of surrounding communities to ensure that each park is ecologically, socially, and financially sustainable for the long term.
Garamba National Park is a nearly 2,000-square-mile (3,200-square-kilometre) national park in north-eastern DRC. The park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. It is the last holdout for the largest population of elephants and the only surviving population of the Kordofan giraffe in all of Congo. Garamba is at the frontline of bushmeat hunting and militant ivory poaching.
The Challenge: African Parks identified an opportunity to improve the management of artisanal gold miners in the Garamba National Park complex, located in the Orientale Province, DRC.
The organisation understands that while Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) is a threat to biodiversity and linked to conflict with the company Kibali Gold Mine and an informal economy, it is also an important socioeconomic activity for those involved. It therefore sought robust data to inform an action plan that park authorities can use to address the mining appropriately.
The Solution: Levin Sources was contracted to conduct a field study on artisanal gold mining in the Garamba National Park complex. The study covered demographics, production, commercialisation, social and environmental aspects of the mining. The information collected informed the development of recommendations for a plan of action.
Appreciating the advantages of local knowledge of the area studied, Levin Sources deployed associates with relevant expertise to manage the primary research production. Our comprehensive research methodology generated both statistical and anecdotal evidence to inform African Park’s engagement action plan.
Results: Levin Sources' context-specific research methodology covered:
- Economic and commercialisation concerns
- Relations between LSM and ASM in the zone
- Environmental impact assessment
- Social impact assessment, including health and safety, community health, child protection
- Governance, including official and customary legal regulation assessment
- Management, including the design of solutions to protect biodiversity and promoting responsible exploration and mining methods
Levin Sources’ main recommended actions include engagement to develop more responsible mining through ‘ecological transition zones’, improved production techniques, opening artisanal mining zones in the buffer zones, and monitoring of illegal semi-mechanised river dredging ASM.