Wednesday, July 24th 12:54 PM IST

Fairtrade Gold, Silver and Platinum markets set for expansion

# Fairtrade gold  # fair mined gold  # Association for Responsible Mining  

The dual labelling- Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold will end in 2013 for Gold, Silver and Platinum. However Fairtrade International and ARM have created a market awareness for ethically mined gold and concerns over the lives of Artisanal and Smallp-scale mining (ASM) whose survival is at stake.

LONDON (Bullion Street): Any one shopping for precious metals jewelry is bound to look for discounts and bargains especially in a volatile market. However, a growing community of consumers may also be willing to shell out a premium to buy ethically mined gold and merchants willing to sell them. This is the hope of Fairtrade International and Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) which recently parted ways to grow the markets on their own.

The dual labelling- Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold will end in 2013 for Gold, Silver and Platinum. However Fairtrade International and ARM have created a market awareness for ethically mined gold and concerns over the lives of Artisanal and Smallp-scale mining (ASM) whose survival is at stake.

Fairtrade International and ARM jointly launched Fairtrade and Fairmined gold in the UK in 2011, closely followed by launches in other global markets. Both partners in the pilot project shared a common vision to create better conditions for artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM). The partnership successfully brought about empowerment of miner’s organisations, raising awareness of issues in the ASM sector and providing businesses with a traceable source of responsibly mined and fairly traded gold.

“Working with Fairtrade and Fairmined gold has helped make miners a more powerful part of the industry, but we’re really just at the beginning of our journey,” said Harriet Lamb, Chief Executive of Fairtrade International. “We’re determined to put the spotlight on the challenges which miners face, to grow the market for Fairtrade gold, and to bring about improvement and change, to ensure a better future for miners and their families.”

Globally, over 100 million people depend on Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) for survival. The 15 million ASM miners work in harsh and dangerous conditions to produce just 10-15 percent of global gold supplies, but they make up 90 percent of the global work force in gold extraction. These miners and their families are caught in a vicious circle of exploitation, illegality, and many lack the skills and resources to move forward. However, if managed responsibly, ASM mining can provide a great opportunity for poverty reduction and sustainable development for millions of people, according to FairTrade International.

There are several benefits for ASM for association with the FairTrade project;
-receive a guaranteed Fairtrade Minimum Price set at 95% of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), 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) is the Fairtrade premium is calculated as 15% of the applicable LBMA fixing;develop long term business relations with their commercial partners;-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;-do not allow child labour in their operations.

Ecological Fairtrade certified Gold is also available. This is gold which has been extracted without the use of chemicals, with strict ecological restoration requirements.

In 2012, the UK-based áResponsible Jewelry Council (RJC) with over 400 member companies promoting ethical mining practices also provided formal recognition for the Fairtrade jewelry and announced their intention to promote them.

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