Destination Fairtrade Gold Africa - Alan's diary Part 1
For over 15 years, Cred has been working directly with miners to develop Fairtrade and ecological practices which benefit their work and communities. This has so far been concentrated in South America.
Last week Alan visited mines in Kenya & Tanzania. The aim of the trip was to help prepare miners for the realities of selling into international markets prior to Fairtrade certification.
Funded by a grant from Comic Relief, the Fairtrade Foundation is working with Fairtrade Africa as well as local partners in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to achieve the first Fairtrade certified gold supplies from artisanal and small-scale miners in East Africa. The programme is working with nine mining groups to develop technical skills and improve mining practises in line with the Fairtrade standard for Gold and Precious Metals.
Read Part 1 of Alan's diary:Tanzania
There are thousands of Artisinal miners in Tanzania around the town of Geita, in the north of the country. During the last two years Fairtrade Africa have led a training mission sponsored by Comic Relief to get some of these sites accredited. The Fairtrade standards train the miners to work safely, to be responsible to the environment and employees and not to employ child labour. It sounds straight forward to us, but to these miners it's like learning a new language.
The incentive is that they will get paid 95% of the value of their gold sold to international markets instead of 70%. The difference is currently being taken by informal traders in country whose aim is to keep the miners in poverty. Currently mine workers earn $1 a day for dangerous, back-breaking work.
Cred Jewellery are the first buyers to give these people a chance of escaping this poverty trap by selling the gold at fair prices. We met the miners and listened to their stories, we saw their pits. Little has changed in 100 years.
People in the UK must find out where their gold comes from. if not, they maybe wearing a wedding ring signifying their love which has been mined by people earning a dollar a day. That's slavery.
(Image above right: The view down the 40ft artisanal gold mine that we are looking at in the main image)