YANI MINING ORGANIZATION
The Gold Mining Association of Yani R.L is located at 4290 meters (14074.8 feet) above sea level, on a middle mountain range belonging to the Bolivian Andean eastern ranges, and strongly influenced by the winds coming from the impressive Illampu snowy mountain.
In a zone mined by the Spaniards in colonial times, in 1983, 30 people from the community decided to formalize the mining activity they took up from their parents, and form the Mining Association of Yani R.L. Since then, they have worked tirelessly to improve their mining activities. Yani has grown with a mission of solidarity towards the mining family and a vision of growth and development. 88 families depend on the association’s activity, from which 80% live inside the mining camp, and the remaining 20% live in the communities of North Anacoma, Yani-Kala Cruz and Ingenio.
The whole region has positioned itself as an important gold producer.
EXPLORING THE MINING PROCESS
Yani mines a primary site, or gold vein. The mineral is extracted from the mine shaft via pneumatic wagons, and taken to the processing plant on dump trucks. The plant uses four ball mills which can processes 25 tons of material daily. After the milling process, the gold is concentrated by amalgamation using low quantities of mercury and handled safely according to the Standard. Yani’s monthly production ranges between 3 and 4 kilos with an approximate purity of 93%.
PRODUCTION SYSTEM UNDER THE FAIRMINED STANDARD
On march 6 of 2017, Yani obtained Fairmined Certification. The process started in 2013 with the objective of aligning all activities carried out by the mining community with the Fairmined Standard requirements. Throughout the way towards certification, the Alliance for Responsible Mining accompanied Yani together with their local ally, Cumbre del Sajama, who provided them with continuous support in topics such as safety and occupational health, environmental and administrative issues, gender, community relationships, proper use of mercury, among others, to comply with the requisites of the Fairmined Standard.
“We learned a lot about environment-friendly management, and also about all the legal and work related issues that must be taken into account for small-scale mining. Working with responsibility makes us greater concerning our overall production and the development of our labor”, stated Carlos Yurja Álvarez, partner at Yani and David Quispe Quito, President and partner of the cooperative.
MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE ASSOCIATION
Today Yani is proud to be able to demonstrate the community and other associations that it’s possible to mine responsibly, for having implemented a process with strict handling of mercury so that no metal is released into soil and water sources, avoiding emissions and employing only the strictly necessary amounts. Adding to this, they rely on a plan to gradually reduce mercury use, they continuously implement the plans for mining security and environmental management; they totally comply with current Bolivian mining normativity, and have a strong commitment with the continuous improvement of the welfare of their associates, workers, and the mining community in general.
Also, true gender equality exists within the association, women develop tasks inside the mining camp, taking care of the facilities and work in general administration.
“Yani is an Association which is very committed in every aspect, and willing to comply 100% with the norm. They worked tirelessly for this, according with the instructions and support given by Cumbre del Sajama. They are eager to improve their systems of mineral washing, minimize the use of mercury, and have made a big investment on the construction of tailings, shaking tables and on improvements to their warehouses, explosives storage, among others” stated Mireya Saavedra Rivera, IMOSwiss auditor, after the successful certification. IMO is an independent auditing company which ensures compliance with the Fairmined Standard.
A COMMUNITY INFLUENCED BY THE AYMARA CULTURE
To reach the nearest community, Anacoma, one must drive 45 minutes on a sinuous road, which in rainy season becomes hard to access. The community has a health center and a free school, which gets its support from the association.
Nearby communities are inhabited mostly by the miners and their families, given that mining is the only economic activity from which they can sustain themselves in said area. The sector of Yani-Kala Cruz is deeply influenced by its ethnic background, inhabited by 40 families of Aymara origin who make up almost the total of the population.
Number of shareholders: 10 women, 75 men
Number of workers: 60 men
Type of mining: Hard rock
Yani is Fairmined certified since March 2017.