With these new certifications, Colombia reaches 5 mining organizations that produce Fairmined Responsible Gold and becomes the country with the most Fairmined certified mines in the world.
We are pleased to announce that two new mining organizations in Colombia have been certified under the Fairmined Standard: La Cascada Ltda and La Coqueta Ltda, both located in the municipality of Manizales. With these latest certification, Colombia becomes the country with the most Fairmined certified mines in the world. All the certified organizations must comply with strict international standards for social, labor, organizational, and environmental issues in order to achieve this certification for responsible mining.
The miners of these two organizations have obtained the Fairmined Certification because during the last years they have worked hard, and they have gained an increasing awareness of the importance of transforming their activity into a responsible mining operation. An example of this is that eight years ago they made the decision to completely eliminate mercury and opted instead to use much more efficient metal recovery processes. In addition, they have made important investments to achieve higher and more adequate quality standards.
Fulfilling the Fairmined Standard allows the mining organizations La Cascada and La Coqueta, along with other artisanal and small-scale mining organizations (ASMOs), to demonstrate that they employ responsible practices in their mining operation. In addition, it gives certified mines access to international markets where they can earn fair prices for gold and silver. Furthermore, the standard provides an economic incentive, through the Fairmined Premium, that rewards the mine’s efforts for continuous improvement and the organizational and social development of ASMOs.
“Before we knew about the Fairmined Standard, our company had made a commitment to optimize our mining operation model and to implement environmentally friendly practices. The certification process with Fairmined opened our eyes to a new model of responsible gold mining. At the same time, we established a metal recovery model that would have been nearly impossible for us to achieve before joining the Fairmined Initiative. Not only have we received recognition at the local level, but also nationally and internationally, reaching markets that we would have never imagined possible if we had traveled this path alone.”
Hector Ortiz Soto, partner of the La Cascada mining organization
Just as the drive and motivation of these miners to do things correctly is important, so is the support of government institutions and organizations committed to responsible mining. Such is the case with the Better Gold Initiative (BGI), which for several years have done a great job of prospecting and supporting mining organizations throughout South America, identifying mines with great potential to be certified, and supporting them in their desire to exercise a responsible activity
On the other side, regional and national institutions have supported several mines around Manizales, including La Cascada. CORPOCALDAS, the environmental agency overseeing the department of Caldas, initiated a technical support plan to improve the mine’s production through a process with the CDMB, another regional environmental authority. Years later, after making much progress, it was scaled up to the level of involvement of the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Colombia and the Governorate of Caldas, whose intervention brought formalization processes; consultancy on technical, environmental, labor, social, and regulatory issues; and technical assistance for mercury reduction and elimination. The collaboration among all of these organizations paved the way for arriving at Fairmined Certification.
At present there are five certified mines in Colombia, out of the ten found globally (the others are in Bolivia, Peru, and Mongolia). These mines produce Fairmined Gold that is purchased and transformed by international jewelry houses, refineries, independent craft jewelers, and mints in 22 countries.