The Ecologist

 
fair trade gold

More than two million child labourers are estimated to work in the gold mining sector

More articles about
Related Articles

World's first Fairtrade gold goes on sale in the UK

Ruth Styles

12th February, 2011

The Fair Trade Foundation and the Alliance For Responsible Mining join forces to challenge unsustainable gold mining industry in Colombia and Peru

Valentines Day will see the world’s first Fairtrade certified gold go on sale after a new partnership between the Fair Trade Foundation and Bolivian mining co-operative, Cotapata.

An estimated 15 million people work in artisanal and small-scale mines worldwide, often enduring appalling working conditions and exposure to highly toxic chemicals such as mercury. It has been estimated that 20 tonnes of toxic mine waste is created by the production of just one gold wedding band.

Fair Trade Foundation executive director Harriet Lamb said the reality of gold production was 'completely at odds with what consumers imagine'. ‘Consumers care about the conditions faced by miners. This is why Fairtrade and Fairmined gold has the potential to tackle unfair supply chains, improve working and environmental conditions, and deliver tangible and sustainable economic benefits to impoverished communities.'

Twenty jewellers, including heavy-hitters Garrard and Ingle & Rhode, have already agreed to sell the gold, which will go on sale from Monday in the UK. The Fair Trade Foundation hopes to roll it out in other countries over the coming months and aims to capture at least five percent of the gold jewellery market by 2026.

Currently, only one mine has been certified – the Cotapata mine in Bolivia – but more mines in Peru and Colombia are due to receive certification within the next couple of months. The Fairtrade minimum price for gold is set at 95 per cent of the London Bullion Market Association’s (LBMA) fix – the international agreed price for gold.

Currently, mining companies receive anywhere between 30 and 85 per cent of the LBMA fix. Miners will earn an additional premium of five per cent of the LBMA fix when they switch to mining without mercury or cyanide. ‘Now we are Fairtrade, we are receiving a premium,’ said Juana Pena Endara, Senior President of the Cotopata Mining Co-operative. ‘The first thing we will do is buy a smelter and some machinery so we can produce more.’

Manuel Reinoso Rivas, Vice Chairman of the ARM Board of Directors at the soon to be certified Oro Verde mine in Peru, said: ‘The Fairtrade premium really will bring huge benefits to our communities.’

Add to StumbleUpon
  READ MORE...
COMMENT
Great victory against cyanide for gold mining
A landmark ban in Hungary on the use of cyanide in mining looks set to make huge improvements in public health. Now the country's neighbours need to follow her lead...
NEWS
UK and USA retailers join boycott against Alaska's 'dirty gold'
Leading jewellery outlets including Fraser Hart, Tiffany & Co and Beaverbrooks say they won't use gold from London-based Anglo America's proposed mine in the Alaskan wilderness
INVESTIGATION
Conned for her copper: Zambia pays the price for aid
Copper underwires the modern world, running through everything from the gas guzzler to the wind turbine. Any country that finds substantial reserves of the metal ought to consider itself to have struck gold. That is, until you let the World Bank decide how your mines should be run…
GREEN LIVING
Can silver ever be ethical?
From country cousin to king gold, silver is slowly cleaning up its tarnished reputation, writes Matilda Lee
INVESTIGATION
Not all that is gold, glitters - a report on the dark side of the precious metal
The world’s favourite precious metal is hiding a dirty little secret. Laura Sevier reports on the truth behind the glitter, and asks whether gold can ever be green

 

Previous Articles...

ECOLOGIST COOKIES

Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.

More information here...

 

FOLLOW
THE ECOLOGIST