Gold | Fairtrade Canada

By: Transfair  09-12-2011


Fairtrade and Fairmined, the world's first independent ethical certification system for gold, provides you with a way to know your gold has been mined responsibly .

It's important to know how your most treasured pair of earrings or your showpiece necklace started their journey. Important because all Fairtrade and Fairmined certified gold comes exclusively from small-scale and artisanal mines in a way that seeks to reduce dependence on harmful chemicals. Good news for mining communities in South America and good news for the people who live and mine there. Look carefully and you'll find the Fairtrade and Fairmined stamp on the inside of every piece.

'I think that Fairtrade is going to help us to sell our gold at the right price and we will be better paid. It will also help the environment.'

- Gina Dávila, mineral sorter, Sotrami Mine


A miner outside the gold mine in Santa Filomena, in the district of Sancos, province of Lucanas, department of Ayacucho, Peru.

Photo: Eduardo Martino

Meet the Miners

Workers like mineral sorter Gina Dávila will tell you that Fairtrade and Fairmined gold is more valuable than any other. Working with Fairtrade and Fairmined certified gold has made the miners a more powerful part of the industry. That’s everyone who works at the mine, both men and women. The fair pay they earn has made life more secure for their families, while the extra Fairtrade Premium has got them planning the future of their communities. And the Fairtrade and Fairmined standards have put measures in place to make work a safer place. Not just that, they safeguard the surrounding environment too.

Globally there are 100 million people who depend directly or indirectly on this type of mining. They are characterised by high levels of poverty, trapped in unfair supply chains and struggling to get a fair price for the gold they mine.

Fairtrade and Fairmined certification enables miners to:

  • Earn their living with dignity by participating in a system that gives them better access to their rights
  • Gain more security from knowing they'll receive good prices for the gold they mine
  • Invest the Fairtrade premium in community development projects such as education, health and environmental restoration
  • Empower themselves, gaining bargaining power with the traders and more control in the supply chain by developing democratic collective organisations
  • Improve their working conditions through the mandatory use of protective gear and safer use of chemicals
  • Address gender equality through creating better access to mineral sources for women

What Does Fairtrade and Fairmined Mean?

A unique partnership, the Fairtrade and Fairmined gold certification is the result of a joint effort between Fairtrade International (FLO) and the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), which has combined their expertise to enable artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) to improve their livelihoods.

Through an extensive consultation process the two organisations have developed a set of standards for responsible mining, which the miners have to fulfill in order to get certified. Achieving the certification means that the miners:

  • Receive a guaranteed Fairtrade Minimum Price: This is set at 95% of the London Bullion Market Association's (LBMA's), fixing at the FOB export point
  • Receive a Fairtrade premium payment, which is democratically reinvested in community projects and improving miners' operations. This is calculated as 10% of the applicable LBMA fixing
  • For Ecological Gold (gold extracted without the use of chemicals) this is calculated as 15% of the applicable LBMA fixing
  • Develop long term business relations with their commercial partners

Fulfilling the Fairtrade and Fairmined standard means that certified miners:

  • Have developed democratic and accountable organisations and formalised all their operations
  • Are using safe working practices including the management of toxic chemicals, such as mercury and cyanide, used in the gold recovery process
  • Are respectful with their environment
  • Recognize the rights of women miners

Organisations will be audited by the independent, international certification body FLO-CERT to ensure they are complying with the standards.

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