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Gold now top conflict mineral in Congo: Report

In this photo taken Aug. 17, 2012, one of the few remaining miners digs out soil which will later be filtered for traces of cassiterite, the major ore of tin, at Nyabibwe mine, in eastern Congo. (AP Photo/Marc Hofer)

GOMA, Congo: An activist group says that gold has become the primary source of income for armed groups in eastern Congo, and is ending up in jewelry stores across the globe.

Following American legislation requiring companies to track the origin of the minerals, armed groups have turned to gold because it is easier to smuggle across borders.

The report estimates that while only 23 kilograms (50 pounds) of gold were officially exported from eastern Congo in the first half of 2012, 2 to 4 tons of gold went out through illegal routes.

Since the beginning of April, a new rebel group called M23 is ravaging eastern Congo and is trying to take over gold mines in North Kivu, according to the Enough Project.

 

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