Sourcing standard gives artesanal gold producers path to formal marketsNovember 2012
Gold produced by artesanal miners certified as meeting the Fairtrade & Fairmined Standard (F&F) can now be considered ‘eligible material’ for chain-of-custody sourcing after the standard was recognised by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) last month.
The RJC move, welcomed by the Alliance for Responsible Mining and the Fairtrade Foundation, which together govern the F&F standard, means gold produced by artesanal small-scale miners (ASM) can be mixed with other responsibly-produced and recycled gold.
The RJC board has agreed to formally recognise part A of the F&F as a ‘Recognised Responsible Mining Standard’ under its own chain of custody (CoC) standard.
The move is significant given the dangerous and unregulated nature of the gold mining industry, based as it often is in conflict-stricken regions with weak human rights and environmental controls.
The RJC hopes the move will incentivise ASM producers to become certified, particularly as the mounting focus on conflict materials could drive buyers away from small-scale gold producers, in turn forcing them towards more informal or illegal practices.
The benefits for these producers will include expanded access to CoC pathways through to RJC’s membership in the jewellery supply chain. RJC CoC certified refiners can source from certified ASM producers, meaning it will become part of a ‘CoC gold’ stream.
However, such gold must also comply with additional registration, licensing and audit protocols to be labelled as ‘Fairtrade and Fairmined’.
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