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Follow the Money: Financial Flows linked to Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Sierra Leone

Follow the Money: Financial Flows linked to Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Sierra Leone

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Author(s): Marcena Hunter and Asher Smith

Client(s): The GIFF Project (Levin Sources and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime)


Alongside the launch of '‘Follow the Money: A handbook for identifying financial flows linked to Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining’, we are also releasing our first case study demonstrating application of the handbook’s methodology to analyse the IFFs surrounding the ASGM sector in Sierra Leone, showing its practical application and the importance of financial mapping to a meaningful understanding of ASGM.

Despite government and civil society efforts at formalisation, Sierra Leone’s ASGM remains largely in the informal sector. Investigations reveal most of Sierra Leone’s gold never enters the formal supply chains within its borders. Rather, gold is mined, bought, sold and exported through informal networks that only occasionally and selectively intersect with formal supply and value chains prior to crossing the border. Consequently, the country records minimal gold exports and the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) reaps little benefit from the gold sector through formal channels of taxation. 

The research was conducted through The GIFF Project, a partnership between the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (Global Initiative) and Levin Sources, with support from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The Institute for Governance Reform (IGR) served as the local research partner organisation in Sierra Leone and prepared an initial report on the work, from which this case study draws.

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