FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

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About the Fairmined Certification Process

  • 1. What is the Fairmined Label?

    Fairmined is an assurancelabel that certifies that the gold comes from a certified mining organization and proves that the organization is a responsible mining organization. In order to use the Fairmined Label an mining organization must comply with the Fairmined Standard.

  • 2. How can mining organizations receive guidance in order to achieve Fairmined Certification?

    First of all, ARM will introduce you to the benefits of Fairmined Certification and offer guidance to understand the entry-level requirements and to complete the application forms.

    An example: we can diagnose the mining organization's compliance status with the Standard's entry-level requirements, which will enable the mining organization to identify where it lacks compliance in order to improve upon those points. We offer specific tailor made training programs for identified needs and the possibility of a pre-audit for the mining organization to be prepared for the certification audit.

    Subsequently, once certified, we provide support on the path of progressive compliance.

    Contact us to get the necessary guidance.

  • 3. What is the application for Fairmined Certification?

    The application is the first step to start the Certification process. The mining organization does an assessment of this application. It is a due diligence process of essential criteria to apply for certification and ensure the mining organization has the community-based artisanal and small-scale nature.

    The mining organization can email cert@responsiblemines.org to receive more information or it can access the Steps towards Fairmined Certification section and directly download the Application Form from our webpage, fill it out, attach the required documents stipulated on the list and send it to cert@responsiblemines.org
  • 4. How long does the Fairmined Certification process take?

    We invite you to download the Process and timelines of the Fairmined Certification; here you will find the description of each stage with the stipulated time frames by ARM and IMO Swiss AG. However, this depends on the mining organization's commitment and dedication so that all documents are available and all payments, deadlines and presentation of objective evidence are met on time, as agreed upon with the certification body.

  • 5. What does the Alliance for Responsible Mining evaluate in the application?

    The Alliance for Responible Mining's (ARM) Applications Committee evaluates:

    • If the documentation is duly filled out and complete
    • If the mining organization operates legally
    • If the miners register and mines and processing plant registries are complete for the certification body to define the audit's scope and costs
    • If the miners and the aspiring organization really qualify as artisanal and small-scale mining, as defined by the Standard.
    • Whether the mining organization operates or not in sensible areas or ecosystems.
    • Whether the mining organization supports or directly or indirectly finances illegal groups or armed groups.

    ARM will contact the mining organization directly if there are any doubts or incomplete documents.

    ARM agrees to review and send the application within 15 days of receiving it to IMOswiss AG, which will then establish contact with the mining organization in order to signthe certification contract, send the proposal and schedule the audit.

  • 6. How much does Fairmined Certification cost?

    Any mining organization that makes the decision of achieving Fairmined Certification takes on certain important responsibilities that requires dedication and passion. This is what distinguishes responsible miners. As mentioned above, there are entry-level requirements needed to achieve Certification, which is why the mining organization must make certain investments and efforts to ensure compliance with the entry-level requirements to the Certification System.

    Once prepared, the mining organization must assume the cost of the auditing and certification services by IMOswiss AG. An mining organization must have the conditions to cover the certification expenses of the first audit and the following annual audits.

    Auditing and certification costs are estimated according to the mining organization's size and complexity and the number of work areas that need to be inspected, such as: mines, processing plants, etc. The final rate is calculated based on IMOswiss AG's public rate.

    Furthermore, in order to advance on the continuous improvement path of the progressive requirements included in the Fairmined Standard, additional efforts  are required. These can be covered by the improved income or the Fairmined Premium and depends on the decisions taken by the Fairmined Premium Committee and the mining organization.

  • 7. Why invest resources in the Fairmined Certification process?

    Our Fairmined Standard model enables miners to associate themselves under the umbrella of a single or several mining organizations of the same region in order to share costs. The model is designed so that certification and auditing expenses are justified throughout your participation in the Fairmined Certification System:

    • By receiving a fair price for Fairmined precious metals (higher than (or at least equal to) 95%) of the international price stated by the London Bullion Market Association.
    • By receiving a Fairmined Premium as an additional resource paid for long-term investment on social, economic and environmental sustainable development By receiving down payments from buyers.
    • By accessing new ethical markets that enable the development of long-term business relations with Fairmined Gold buyers.
  • 8. What does the auditing cost depend on?

    The cost of the documentary and physical audit performedby the independent third-party certification body depends on:

    • The country where the mining organization is located
    • The number of miners the mining organization and its System of Production include
    • The number and size of the orgnization's mines and processing plants
    • The distance and transportation between sites
  • 9. How long does an audit take?

    An audit can last from three days to a week depending on the mining organization's size, its facilities, the distances to move and the country. The audit's scope is internationally defined as the inspection of a reasonable number of mines, processing plants, family processing plants, tailing pools and depends on the extension of the territory or the mining area.

  • 10. What are the steps to follow if the mining organization has any complaints or disagrees with the audit’s results?

    According to IMOswiss AG's quality policies there is a defined process called Appeals and Complaints Procedure, which explains in detail the actions a mining organization must follow when it disagrees with an auditing decision in order to handle the complaint in an adequate manner.

  • 11. When can the mining organization begin to sell Fairmined certified gold?

    The mining organization can begin to sell its Fairmined certified gold from the moment it receives the document called "Certificate" from IMOswiss AG. This certificate ensures the mining organization was audited and certified according to the Certification and Control Procedures of the Fairmined Standard. It will be certified for one year starting on the issuing date, given permanent compliance with the requirements and the mining organization requests annual audits to confirm its continued commitment ARM offers miners support by giving them access to markets and connections to the supply chain.

  • 12. Who helps the mining organization connects to responsible supply chains?

    Once the mining organization becomes certified, it receives support from ARM's Fairmined Commercial unit. This area is constantly searching for buyers and offers the necessary guidance to facilitate the connection between producers (miners) and the market. There is an ever-increasing number of authorized Fairmined providers (traders, refiners, manufacturers or smelters) and Fairmined Licensees (brands and buyers) that believe in Fairmined Gold and the positive impact it generates in mining organizations and communities.

    We invite you to visit our Fairmined for Businesses section.

  • 13. What is the renovation cycle for a mining organization’s certification? How long is the certification valid?

    According to international standards and quality commitments of the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), the mining organization must receive annual audits that guarantee their continued compliance with the Standard's requirements and ensure the incorporation of progressive requirements, as defined by the Fairmined Standard.

  • 14. Who can I contact in the Alliance for Responsible Mining to learn more about Fairmined Certification?

    ARM's Standards and Certification unit offers guidance to mining organizations in the process of Fairmined Certification regarding the requirements and interpretations of the Standard. Furthermore, it ensures the adequate development of the Fairmined Certification System. We invite you to send any questions, suggestions and recommendations you have about Fairmined Certification to cert@responsiblemines.org