WHAT IS FAIR TRADE GOLD?

 

Fair Trade Gold is sourced ethically and sustainably. Miners are paid fair wages. The processes used to extract and amalgamate gold are not harmful to people or the environment. We work with the community and encourage miners to voice their thoughts, to create a community that benefits from gold mining. Fair Trade gold mines are small-scale, known as artisinal mines. Although artisinal mines only produce 10% of the worlds gold, they make up 90% of the labour force. Fair Trade gold is about providing a choice for customers. We want our customers to be aware that there is an option to buy ethically sourced gold. We want to be transparent about what we do, and how we do it. 

WHY IS ETHICALLY SOURCED GOLD DIFFERENT?

 

As well as Fair wages for miners, ethical gold also ensures fair working hours, 8 hour shifts. All pit miners must be over the age of 18. The mines set-up means that profits should be invested back into the mine and the local community.  Miners democratically decide improvements they would like to make to the local community; for example, improvements to education, infrastructure and water supplies. They have union representatives from different areas of the mine who feedback changes and improvements to the Fair Trade team and mine owner. This means, that everyones voice is heard.

There is also investment into the mine itself. For example, there are options to buy better technologies to create a safer and more efficient working environment. Gold catchers, known as retorts, eliminate the use of toxic chemicals such as mercury and cyanide which can have detrimental affects on the health of miners and the environment.


HOW DO NON-FAIR TRADE ARTISINAL MINES NORMALLY OPERATE? 

 

Many artisanal mines have no formal set up, locals enter the mine with no training on how to extract gold effectively, or how to amalgamate gold. This lack of awareness means many miners put their health and safety at risk. One of the reasons miners receive low wages, is because they sell their gold to buyers for a very low price. This can be as low as 25%, and in some regions, miners earn less than $2 a day. There can be a chain of up to 20 or more buyers in many case, each profiting from the gold they sell to the next buyer, until it reaches the manufacturer. 

Fair Trade cuts out the middle men, the buyers. Many gold batches from various regions of the world such as Asia, South America and Africa, are mixed into one batch that then gets sold to manufactures. Previously it was historically impossible to know where gold in jewellery was sourced. With Fair trade gold, we can tell you exactly where the gold was sourced. The gold from mines goes straight to manufactures, and the Fair Trade gold team acts as a third party who ensure a premium is paid so that miners receive a Fair Price. There are also routine checks on the mines carried out by Fair Trade. Fair Trade gold started in 2006, it has been a long journey to developing ethically sourced gold which began in the early 90’s. We realise that the change from an informal mining set – up to a Fair Trade mine takes time, effective training and good communication.

 

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For further information, read our Fair Trade gold report.