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Boost for small-scale miners as Fairtrade Gold launches in Switzerland

By Gonzaga Mungai   |   October 23rd, 2014   |   0 Comments

Small-scale miners are set to win as (Fairtrade) Max Havelaar Switzerland launches jewellery made from Fairtrade gold in Switzerland today.

Switzerland is the hub of the global gold market where approximately 70% of all gold-refining takes place, so introducing Fairtrade gold there is a truly landmark move which will deliver significant social and environmental benefits back to miners – an added touch of sparkle.

The first Fairtrade gold jewellery collections have been launched by Coop City and Christ Uhren & Schmuck, both parts of the Coop Group. The gold has been mined by Fairtrade gold mine SOTRAMI located in southern Peru.

Artisanal and small-scale mining is the second biggest employer after agriculture and more than 16 million people around the world directly depend on mining for their livelihood. It is characterised by high levels of poverty, marginalisation and exploitation. Conventional small scale mining is highly labour intensive and often poorly regulated and the miners and workers can be exposed to hazardous conditions. In addition, they usually receive only a modest price and struggle to make a living.

Fairtrade is committed to improving the welfare of people and the planet in small-scale gold mining sector where people urgently need safer working conditions, fair market access, environmental protection and transparency in trading.

Today, (Fairtrade) Max Havelaar Switzerland joins a growing number of Fairtrade markets where labelled Fairtrade gold jewellery is now available including Australia/New Zealand, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom; as well as the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Norway, Trinidad who offer the Goldsmiths Registration Scheme.

Amy Ross, Fairtrade International Project Manager for Gold & Precious Metals Programme said: “The fact that Fairtrade gold is now available in one of the biggest jewellery markets in the world will be a huge boost to certified miners and their communities, who will enjoy the benefits of selling more of their gold on Fairtrade terms. At the same time, more consumers will have the option of choosing Fairtrade Gold for themselves and their loved ones. It really is the best gold story in the world.”

– ENDS –

For more general information, interviews, footage and images, please contact Martine Parry 044 20 7440 7695 or at martine.parry @fairtrade.org.uk

For information specifically about the Swiss launch, contact:

Katrin Dorfschmid, Tel 0041 44 278 99 17 E-mail: k.dorfschmid@maxhavelaar.ch

Elie Peter, Tel 0041 44 278 99 23, e-mail: E.peter@maxhavelaar.ch (requests in French)

Press pictures and more information about Fairtrade Gold: www.maxhavelaar.ch/gold

Notes to Editors

  • Around the world small-scale mining employs about 30 million miners. As many as 100 million people depend on it for their livelihoods.
  • Fairtrade gold was first launched in 2011 in the UK closely followed by launches in Australia/New Zealand, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, South Korea and Sweden.  Certified gold is being launched in Switzerland in October 2014 and discussions are currently underway to introduce certified gold in the USA and Germany in the near future.
  • The Fairtrade Minimum Price for pure gold is set at 95% of the London Bullion Market Association’s (LBMA) fix plus a Fairtrade Premium of US$2000 per kilogram of fine gold bought from the mines. Platinum: 95% LMBA + Fairtrade Premium of 15%; Silver: 95% LMBA + Fairtrade Premium of 10%. The LBMA fix is the international agreed price for gold. Artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) producers in the mainstream get anything from 50% to 85% of the LBMA fix.
  • Miners can earn a premium of 15% on top of their sale price when they recover and process gold without the use of harmful chemicals such as mercury and cyanide.
  • Certified miners must use safe and responsible practices for managing toxic chemicals in gold recovery. Chemicals have to be reduced to a minimum and where possible eliminated over an agreed time period.
  • Child and forced labour is prohibited under Fairtrade standards, and Fairtrade monitoring stamps it out wherever it is found.
  • The FAIRTRADE Mark is a certification mark and a registered trademark of Fairtrade International. The Mark is licensed on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. Today, more than 1.3 million people – farmers, workers and their families – across 70 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
  • The Max Havelaar Foundation (Switzerland) was founded in 1992 by the six major Swiss relief organizations as a non-profit organization that awards the Fairtrade label for sustainably grown and fairly traded products in Switzerland. As a member of Fairtrade International, Max Havelaar improves the living conditions of small farmers and plantation workers in developing and emerging countries. With the commitment to gold Fairtrade now contributes towards protecting humans and the environment in small-scale mining.

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