The miners shown here are seeking fair trade certification for their gold mine.
They are just a few of the perhaps twenty five million artisan small-scale gold miners worldwide, a quarter of which are children and women. They supply anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five percent of the global gold supply, typically sold through a network of black market traders, ending up in major trading hubs, such as Dubai. The gold reappears under glass at your nearby jeweler. Even if you don’t wear jewelry, it’s likely a part of the gold in your smart phone or computer has dirty gold or conflict gold from small-scale miners.
For decades many have tried to devise a way to transform these mining activities into a sustainable economic development initiative. Yet these gold diggers are unregulated, often seasonal workers acting illegally. They also live very marginally, often in poverty.
Through Fair Trade, they will have access to international market, increasing their selling of the gold by as much as 40%. They will also be trained in safe working practices. Child labour issues will be tackled through education and remediation strategies.