The Colombian mining cooperative Íquira (Cooperativa Multiactiva Agrominera del Municipio de Iquira) is a model example of how coffee, plantain, livestock farming and gold mining can coexist sustainably. For years, gold mining has provided the community with diversified economic alternatives where community members alternate between artisanal mining and agriculture.
Today, thanks to the support of the Inter-American Development Bank through the Multilateral Investment Fund (IADB-MIF) and The Industry, Enterprise and Services Center of the SENA Huila, a local institution that supports the strengthening of social and technical capacity, The Alliance for Responsible Mining can proudly announce the Fairmined certification of “Cooperativa Multiactiva Agrominera del Municipio de Iquira” in Huila, Colombia.
The Colombian cooperative is the first organization to obtain Fairmined Gold certification as part of the expected goals of the ARM-IADB-MIF regional project. The project was launched in 2013 and aims to bring a total of 10 organizations to Fairmined certification over a period of four years.
As part of the good practices that are promoted, Fairmined certification considers the improvement of environmental, social and governance practices as key measures needed to achieve sustainable development of mining communities, while at the same time contributing to social wellbeing and environmental protection.
“The mining cooperative of Íquira has been a leader in responsible mining since they started out. I am overjoyed that they will now get the international recognition they deserve through Fairmined thanks to the support of the IADB-MIF” Said Lina Villa, ARM´s executive director.
In Íquira, Small-scale mining plays an important role in the local community where the cooperative supports approximately 450 people through their work. With increased income thanks to mining, the community has greater opportunities and an amplified long-term business vision. Furthermore, as Fairmined certified, they can now benefit from a fair price for their gold as well as an additional premium to invest in improving their mining operations and the quality of life of the local community.
“We are very happy that we have achieved certification. A long time ago, we started organizing and making a lot of effort to be a responsible organization. I want to thank the ARM team, who has advised us very well and the cooperative because all members did their part for us to be able to accomplish what we have achieved today.” Said José Ignacio Pérez, legal representative of the Íquira Cooperative.
The certification of Íquira and the support from the IADB-MIF is another strong sign of how the industry and miners are recognizing Fairmined certification as the leading standard for creating positive transformation in the ASM sector.
There are at the moment three mining organizations certified to produce Fairmined gold: SOTRAMI and AURELSA in Peru and the Íquira Cooperative in Colombia.