The prize, featuring the head of Alfred Nobel, was struck at the Norway Mint in Kongsberg, Norway, ahead of the ceremony on December 10th where it will be presented to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet. The mediators are credited with saving the country on the brink of civil war in the wake of the Arab Spring.
The Norwegian Mint, which produces the medal, has teamed up with the creators of the Fairmined Certification, Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), in a bid to show that the problems faced by artisanal and small-scale gold miners in the world can be transformed into positive stories.
Gold mining is a vital source of income for many communities in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Around 90 percent of the world’s gold miners work in artisanal and small-scale mines and often face difficult conditions, working with simple tools and regularly using damaging amounts of mercury, a substance which is dangerous for the workers and presents an environmental hazard if not handled responsibly.
ARM is working to transform artisanal and small-scale mining into a social and environmentally responsible activity by supporting miners in reaching Fairmined Certification. To be Fairmined certified the miners must meet strict requirements for responsible practices to deliver social development and ensure environmental protection.
“A Peace Prize in Fairmined gold makes a perfect match. Both are symbols of the fact that social change requires partnerships and commitments. A big thanks to Samlerhuset, the Mint of Norway and to the certified miners for leading the way.” Said Lina Villa-Córdoba, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Responsible Mining.
The gold used in the medal comes from the Fairmined certified Iquira Cooperative in Colombia and has been supplied to the Mint by Fairmined refiner S&P Trading – Gold by Gold. The Iquira Cooperative obtained Fairmined Certification in 2014 and has since then been exporting their gold to international markets receiving a fair price and an additional premium of approximately 4,000 US dollars per kilo that they invest in the continuous improvement of their operations and in community projects.
“We are proud that the Peace Prize is made of gold from our cooperative. This is a huge international acknowledgement that allows us to show the world that responsible mining is possible.” Said Luis Alfredo Gonzales from the Íquira Cooperative.
The jewelry industry has already come quite far with their initiatives to promote responsible supply chains, but the coin industry has some catching up to do. The partners involved in the Nobel initiative hope that they can help open more eyes to the problems faced by gold miners around the world.
“This initiative with Fairmined is not only about the Peace Prize medal or our own business,” said Ole Bjorn Fausa, the CEO of the coin producer Samlerhuset, which owns the Mint of Norway. “It is about increasing the focus on these issues within the whole coin industry, so that more companies start using gold from certified small-scale mines. This way we can gradually improve the working conditions for the miners, while at the same time safeguarding the environment.”
The Íquira Cooperative obtained Fairmined Certification thanks to their hard work, ARM´s technical support and the financial support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF). There are currently 10 mines with Fairmined Certification in the world and over 90 businesses worldwide that use Fairmined Gold.