March 12 2015

Red Noses go Gold

Ok, so it may not be the most practical thing, wearing a gold nose. But it is by part thanks to Comic Relief, and your generous donations, that soon the first artisanal & small scale miners gold mines in Africa will be certified as Fairtrade.

Over 900 miners in Tanzania, Uganda & Kenya are working towards Fairtrade Certification, thanks to a grant from Comic Relief. They have passed their mock audit, and are aiming reach full certification and have the first shipment of African gold in the UK this summer. These miners are proving that, with organisation and training, poor working conditions, unfair pay, child labour, women’s rights, health and safety and environmental damage can all begin to be tackled.

Meanwhile, to help the miners fund the improvements they need to make, Cred Jewellery are buying their pre-certified gold at the full Fairtrade price. This simply enters the normal gold channels as it cannot receive the Fairtrade mark, but allows the miners the security relative to the international the gold fix price, rather than the undercut pittance they get on local markets. Cred are also instrumental in exporting the Fairtrade gold from Africa to the UK.

Moving from a position as an informal mine, literally scratching a living below the breadline, these certified mines will use machinery and protective gear for efficiency & safety. The miners are also forming a community together. Instead of each working individually in their own hole, miners in Kenya have joined together to sell their gold collectively. In Uganda, a Women Miners group has been set up, educating mothers on the safe use of mercury.

The certification of these mines will be a huge turning point for the future of ASMs. They will be an example to surrounding mines that change is possible.

A team from BT Supporters Club visited the mine in May last year. Watch their video here