Fairtrade Gold: East African Mines set to become certified
We’re excited! – following the success of Fairtrade Gold in Latin America, a new Fairtrade Gold project was recently launched in East Africa.
One of the mines, which has entered into a Fairtrade deal with the UK, is in Geita, Tanzania. Tanzania is the fourth largest gold producer in Africa, with hundreds of thousands of the country’s miners working in harsh conditions with little pay and few prospects for their future. That could all soon change with the initiation of several gold mines across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to be working alongside Fairtrade to become certified Fairtrade Gold suppliers.
Gold mines must comply with the Fairtrade standard to become certified, and the benefits to miners and the surrounding community is huge. Miners are paid a Fairtrade Minimum price per kilo for the gold, they are given better bargaining power and collectively gain greater control of the jewellery supply chain. Working conditions are greatly improved, including adhering to safe workplace practices, the use of appropriate clothing and protective gear, and minimalizing the use of harsh chemicals. Communities benefit with more environmentally friendly mining practices, miners and their families are given more opportunity to create a successful profitable future in the mining industry and mines must eliminate child labour.
Artisanal and Small-scale Mines produce just 10-15 percent of global gold supplies, however they make up 90 percent of the global work force in gold extraction. Many of the ASM mines are in areas of high poverty and disadvantaged parts of society, where people often have limited options and are forced into mining to make a living. These miners and their families are caught in a vicious cycle of exploitation, illegality and many lack the skills or resources to move forward.
Fairtrade Gold means consumers have traceable supply chains and can be confident that they are purchasing ethical gold products, that make a difference by giving miners a fairer deal and better working environments, improving communities and increasing employment opportunities.