LONDON, July 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
- Growth of Fairtrade gold industry marked by 4th shipment
- Demand from consumers for fairtrade gold continues to grow
- Availability of fairtrade gold in the UK improves for ethical consumers
Ingle & Rhode (www . ingleandrhode . co . uk) and S&P Trading, announce the arrival of the first ever batch of certified Fairtrade & Fairmined gold from The Comunidad Aurifera Relave S.A (The Relave Gold Community or AURELSA), a small community in Peru.
AURELSA received Fairtrade & Fairmined gold certification in May 2012 following a series of independent audits by FLO-Cert, the leading international social certification body that is responsible for verifying compliance with the Fairtrade & Fairmined gold standards.
AURELSA is only the fourth gold producer in the world to obtain Fairtrade & Fairmined status, following in the footsteps of the Cotapata Mining Cooperative in Bolivia, SOTRAMI in Peru, and Oro Verde in Colombia.
Fairtrade & Fairmined gold was launched in the UK on 14 February 2011, with the aim of ensuring that artisanal and small-scale miners can produce and sell gold without being exploited by middlemen, while working with fair pay and conditions, without child labour, and without polluting the environment.
Achieving Fairtrade & Fairmined gold certification means that AURELSA will now receive a guaranteed Fairtrade Minimum Price, set at 95% of the London fix (the price set by the London Bullion Market Association's or LBMA), as well as a Fairtrade premium payment, set at 10% of the London fix, and which is democratically reinvested in community projects and improving miners' operations.
Tim Ingle, co-founder of Ingle & Rhode, the London-based ethical bespoke jeweller said:
"We are absolutely delighted to see another small-scale producer achieve Fairtrade & Fairmined status, and are very proud to have received AURELSA's first shipment of certified Fairtrade & Fairmined gold. This historic first shipment reflects the continued increase in consumer demand for jewellery made with certified Fairtrade & Fairmined gold, and AURELSA will significantly improve availability of this type of product to both jewellers and consumers. Fairtrade & Fairmined gold makes jewellery all the more beautiful for having been produced without human or environmental exploitation."
Patrick Schein, founder of S&P Trading said:
"We are proud to be able to offer pioneer jewellers this new Fairtrade & Fairmined gold in different alloys. AURELSA has been a long supplier of gold for our refinery and we were waiting the moment of this certification. With this certification, comes not only a guarantee of a development premium but also the recognition of the community as a responsible actor in Peru."
Notes to editors:
About Ingle & Rhode
Established in 2007, Ingle & Rhode is the London-based jeweller that has been at the forefront of socially and environmentally responsible sourcing in the jewellery industry. Specialising in bespoke engagement rings and wedding rings, Ingle & Rhode sources ethically produced diamonds and gemstones that can be traced back to source and are guaranteed to be conflict-free. In February 2011, Ingle & Rhode became one of the first jewellers in the world licensed to offer certified Fairtrade & Fairmined gold. The company also offers clients the option of having their jewellery made in 100% recycled gold or platinum.
About S&P Trading
S&P Trading is a trader and refiner of precious metals established in 1992 by Patrick Schein. Active primarily in Latin America, S&P Trading provides technical, logistical and financial support to small and medium-sized local producers in exchange for the purchase of the gold they produce.
In 2006, Patrick Schein joined the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), which prepared the first standards for fairtrade gold. From 2007 onwards, ARM worked with the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) to create the first independent fairtrade gold certification, the standards and label of which were finalised in March 2010.
AURELSA is located in the village of Relave in the Ayacucho region of Peru. During the mid-1980s, many Peruvian families and individuals displaced by violence and economic hardship came to this region in the Peruvian Atacama desert in search of a livelihood and settled as informal miners working on the tailings (relaves) left by previous mining operations.
In 1986, they formed the Asociación de Mineros Artesanales de Relave with 200 miners and started building the village. They gained governmental recognition as a settlement annex in 1993, the first step towards having a school, seeking the guidance of authorities and professionals to improve their mining methods and engaging with the Ministry of Mines. To access mining titles, they were advised to form a private company and invited the whole community to join their collective effort. 86 individuals chose to invest their time and money in creating AURELSA. The company was established in July 1997 with 78 men and eight women, holding mineral rights over 1,000 hectares (about 2,500 acres).
Three groups of affiliated workers and various groups of independent miners operate seven underground hard rock mines, producing about 3.5kg of pure gold per month.
There are now about 600 families in the municipality of Relave. The miners' main challenges are to continue improving their processing methods, setting up a laboratory for gold assaying, building their own carbon desorption plant and increasing training in trading expertise to export and deal with importers in Europe and the US. They are also working to improve shareholder participation in the company's activities, and are seeking access to working capital and credit to implement better technology and enlist all workers onto the payroll.
About Fairtrade & Fairmined Gold Certification
Fairtrade and Fairmined gold certification is the result of a joint effort between Fairtrade International (http://www.fairtrade.net/) and the Alliance for Responsible Mining (http://www.communitymining.org), which combined their expertise to enable artisanal and small-scale miners 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 fulfil 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
- 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 of their environment
- recognize the rights of women miners.
Organisations are audited by the independent, international certification body FLO-CERT, to ensure they are complying with the standards.
In the UK, The Fairtrade Foundation is responsible for licensing retailers such as Ingle & Rhode who offer Fairtrade & Fairmined Gold. For more information see http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/gold/
SARAH DE SOUZA
SOURCE Ingle & Rhode