Today the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and the Swiss watch and jewelry manufacturer Chopard announce that six new mines in Bolivia and Colombia have reached Fairmined Certification thanks to a joint project between the two partners. As part of their long term CSR strategy “The Journey to Sustainable Luxury” Chopard has financially supported the mining organizations in reaching Fairmined Certification as well as sourcing Fairmined Gold from other Fairmined certified mines for various jewelry and watch creations and the famous Palme d’Or of the Cannes Film Festival.
The Fairmined Certification System was developed by ARM to support the transformation of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) into a social and environmentally responsible activity that creates positive impact in mining communities. By attaining Fairmined certification, the six new mines are proving to the world that responsible artisanal mining is possible and that it provides a genuine opportunity for artisanal mining communities around the world.
“Thanks to mining, me and my family have a good home and food on the table every day”, says Alexander Nina, President of the Cooperative 15 de Agosto in the Irupana Municipality of La Paz, Bolivia. “My expectations with certification are to improve our mining activities and the place we live. We now have more possibilities to support the community and open a health center.”
15 de Agosto is currently the only Fairmined certified organization in Bolivia. It is ARM’s local ally Cumbre del Sajama that has provided the Bolivian cooperative with training in subjects like health and safety and mercury reduction to meet the requirements of the Fairmined Standard.
In Colombia, five micro enterprises of the Coodmilla Cooperative in La Llanada, Nariño are just as proud to be exporters of Fairmined Gold.
“Fairmined Certification was a goal to achieve to show others that with hard work and dedication we can generate recognition for our work in artisanal mining”. Said Paul Guerrero, one of the five owners of the newly certified mines in La Llanada. For Paul and many others, mining is a family tradition and the fundamental pillar of their economy. The town of La Llanada has a long history of informal mining but the successful certification of the pioneering mines has proven the concept of responsible mining and Fairmined Certification in the region, and generated new enthusiasm both with other miners and with the institutions.
“We are thrilled to see so many mines of different shapes and sizes certify this year. It proves to me that we have developed a sustainable system that is inclusive to the diversity of ASM organizations and as such can create real change on the global level.” Said Lina Villla, ARM’s Executive Director, and continues: “I want to thank Chopard for their dedication to making a change for these communities. Their commitment to sourcing from ASM and financially supporting organizations to reach Fairmined Certification is an example to the broader gold industry.”
The newly certified mining organizations are exporting their gold through the Fairmined authorized refiners PX Precinox and S&P Trading. There are now 10 certified Fairmined organizations in Bolivia, Colombia, Mongolia and Peru and over 80 business worldwide that have signed up to use Fairmined Gold in their products.
The collaboration between ARM and Chopard is part of a larger project that ARM is implementing in Bolivia, Colombia and Peru thanks to the support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).