Monday, February 21, 2011

Fairmined gold

It's great to see that the Fairtrade movement has now managed to get a standard for gold, called Fairmined. As well as offering a fair price to small scale miners, the certification requires that the extraction of the gold is done without toxic chemicals (such as cyanide and mercury) and with a regard for the environment.

It is estimated that 100 million people depend on small scale mining, but they find it hard to get a fair price on the open market.

The good news is that the royal jewellers, Garrard, have already indicated that they wish to use Bolivian Fairmined gold.

Anti-Apartheid Movement logo
It's not the first time that the sourcing of gold has been used as a way of achieving greater justice. In 1991, we bought a wedding ring for me from Traidcraft, who offered rings made entirely free from South African gold. The negotiations for transition from white minority government to democracy were underway, and this was a small gesture to maintain pressure. It also  gave other gold producers a place in a market dominated by South Africa. As well as the usual hallmarks, my ring has the anti-apartheid logo stamped into the metal. A reminder of very different times

Thankfully that era is over, but a fair deal for small, responsible producers and the campaign to stop "dirty mining" are still greatly needed.
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