Gold mining – dig deeper!

To stay with the gold mining theme, here are some more resources about this industry.

Tarnished: the True Cost of Gold, published by Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Released as e-book 19 February, you can now download it for free (after 7 March you can buy it for 9,99 USD). About the people that brings the gold up to the surface (so that we can shine with it). Personal stories from across the world, including Roșia Montană, facts and backgrounds, and magnificent photography – a MUST read!

All that glitters isn’t gold – A Story of Exploitation and Resistance, a 10 minute trailer for a film about the exploitation of an open pit gold mine in Honduras. It shows how difficult it is for the local population to be taken seriously and to be heard, and this is only one of many similar stories. The full documentary is also available on Youtube, divided in six parts.

The Environmental disaster that is the Gold Industry, by Smithsonianmag.com (14 February 2014). About the environmental impact of gold mining worldwide, and the efforts that are being made to raise awareness. Quoting the director of the No Dirty Gold campaign: “… consumers need to think about the impacts they have when they buy jewelry.”

75 % of the world’s mining companies are based in Canada (Vice, 9 July 2013). Many of the mining companies involved in controversial conflicts around the world are based in Canada. Why is that?

Consumer context

Most of us don’t buy gold jewellery very often. And when we do, it will probably be for a very special occasion. A special person, birthday,  anniversary – or the grand decision to get married, when you want to choose that-very-most-special-ring-that-you-feel-you-can-live-with-for-a-lifetime-and-YES-I-do! So much thinking goes into “the perfect piece”, that we easily forget to also look for “clean gold” in that very moment. That is so understandable, really. After all, jewellery is emotional.

Still.

Me

All of this above is a “note to self”. I don’t work with gold, but even so, next time I need to buy more silver or copper, I should consider all the above, and choose a retailer that sells fairtrade or recycled metal. Will I do that, or will I look at the price tag, go for a retailer that allows me to order online, or that conveniently offers my prefered payment method?

You

And next time you buy jewellery in gold or silver? Next time you feel the weight of that wonderful pendant in your hand, or you try those most gorgeous earrings that-you-fell-in-love-with-and-want-to-have-right-NOW… What do you do? Will you ask the question: Excuse me, but are they fairtrade?

Where to buy fairtrade/recycled metal?

If you know where to buy fairtrade or recycled precious metals, wherever in the world, feel free to share your resource here below. If in Europe, even more appreciated, ’cause then next time I buy metal, I’d have no excuse…

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7 thoughts on “Gold mining – dig deeper!

  1. It happens at time I watch on Discovery Channel the programs about gold diggers … and how little they really find in compared with all the money and time, machinery and … god know what they have invested in.

    I wouldn’t ask if the piece of jewelry I want so much is fair-trade, but I should.
    It’s like everything else – big companies using suppliers that uses child labour …

    • It’s so easy to forget or just not think about it, but the more we know and the more we get reminded, the better it is. The book Tarnished is really great for learning more, if you are interested!

      • You’re so right and thanks for the title. It’s the same with the diamond mines in South Africa, where the employees are also “abused” – terrible.
        When I was in Stockholm I saw some stunning jewelry in s/st at PUB and so reasonable in prices. Can’t for my life remember the name.
        I’m not into gold and diamonds anymore … as I was maybe 15-20 years ago. I buy my jewelry on Ebay most of the time, cheap and cheerful – not many carats either the metal or stones. *smile

  2. Very interesting post! Being from Western Canada, I am quite aware of the involvement of Canadian mining companies in many foreign countries and, regrettably, in conflict zones – Africa (the Congo) for example. in fact, this situation might only get worse, as our oil and gas companies are also trying to get access to more resources in sub-Saharan Africa. Thanks for bringing this up.

    • My own interest started around two gold mining projects in Europe: Corcoesto in Spain and Rosia Montana in Romania. The more I learn about it, the more I understand how complex this is. Huge foreign investments + national governments + local population and environment does not add up, there are too many conflicting interests.

      • I re-read your older posts re: Galicia and Romania with much interest. Like most Canadians, I wasn’t really aware of how deeply involved our mining companies were in these projects. I was in Peru in 2012, and was equally surprised to see there was a strong Canadian presence there (gold & silver mining as well). Thank you so much for shedding some light on this.

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