Ecological gold from Mongolia

The Mongolian NGO XAMODX is a producer of Fairmined Ecological Gold, a special Fairmined label for Fairmined Gold produced without the use of mercury or cyanide.
The story of how the mining community came to be, begins back in 2006 when difficult conditions led herding communities to search for alternative livelihoods to survive the “dzuds” – extremely hard and cold winters that raged for consecutive years killing large herds of livestock.

This situation, right in the aftermath of Mongolia’s economic transition when unemployment was on a rise, made the herding community move to an abandoned mine site called Tsagaan tsakhir in the Bayan-Ovoo Soum territory. It is there they began to focus their activities on mining – their only available alternative to herding. Since then the miners have worked hard to make mining a sustainable livelihood and now, less than ten years later, they claim the title as the world’s first organization with Fairmined Ecological Certification.

It is thanks to the support of the Sustainable Artisanal Mining (SAM) Project of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation in Mongolia that XAMODX is now among the certified Fairmined organizations and the first of its kind in Mongolia.

The SAM project’s goal is the increased formalization of Mongolia’s artisanal mining sector while strengthening their social and environmental responsibility, formalization of artisanal and small-scale (ASM) supply chains for sustainable livelihoods and tangible contribution to local and national economic development. On their way to certification, the SAM project supported XAMODX with organizational capacity strengthening, safety and environmental training and mining site management.

The community

Made up of around 2000 people, the community mainly depends on mining, though a minority still relies on livestock and other small businesses and workshops. Women miners participate actively in the leadership of XAMODX which was formally established as a mining organization in 2009 with the main goal of protecting rights and improve livelihoods of legal miners.


Women of XAMODX

When asked why people should buy their Fairmined Gold, Mrs. Bolormaa and Mrs. Dolgorsuren, two out of the three women members of XAMODX, say the premium makes a great difference in covering the many needs in the community. They are proud to be Fairmined certified so they can support local development and be an example to other miners – not only in Mongolia but in Asia as a whole. Both women have been miners since 2007 and part of XAMODX since 2009. Thanks to mining, they have managed to invest in a brick production shop and in their cattle herds diversifying their sources of income. Bolormaa has furthermore been able to cover her children’s tuition fees.

Quick Facts
NGO members: 22 women and 108 men.
Type of Mining: Hard rock
Interesting Fact: Xamodx was the first certified mining organization that produces Fairmined Ecological Gold. This means, the mining activity is mercury and cyanide free.

Fairmined certified since January 2015.