At Manhattan Gold & Silver, we have some general guidelines about precious metal material that we cannot accept for refinement. Mined materials from Africa is part of that list, which sometimes draws questions from our customers. What’s wrong with African mined materials?
Africa is the largest producer of gold in the world. However, the mining operations there are not without conflict. While there are many legitimate mining companies operating in Africa, the United Nations’ International Labor Organization estimates that as many as one million children between ages 5 and 17 work in the small-scale gold mines of Africa. The country of Burkina Faso is currently one of the areas where child labor in gold mines is prevalent – so much so that the US government prohibits itself from buying any gold directly from there (private dealers are exempt from the prohibition).
Mined materials are unrefined and unmarked, so it’s impossible to tell where they were mined and by whom. Even though mined materials from Africa may come from legitimate sources, there is no reliable way to know for sure. So, it’s our policy not to accept these materials.
Other precious metal material that we do not accept are intact electronic devices (such as computers and cell phones) and whole catalytic converters. However, we can accept the precious metal-bearing components of those items – for example, the gold-plated pins on computer chips or the honeycomb region from a catalytic converter. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about your precious metals or what we do and do not refine.