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Artisanal and Small-scale gold-Mining (ASM) is carried out by 15 million miners who support 60 million people in more than 50 countries from the poorest regions of the world. These areas are subject to economic exploitation, human rights violations, child labor abuses, but also to health risks and environmental inequalities. Mercury, cyanide and other toxic substances are causing serious pollution in the air, soil and water. Technologies are rudimentary and work conditions are dangerous.
Faced with these issues, Fairmined ethical gold is a positive, innovative and promising response. It is produced by human-scale artisanal mining communities, held to rigorous environmentally-friendly standards of transparency, environmental protection and social commitment.
As the first French ethical jewellery brand, JEM is committed to the exclusive promotion and use of ethical Fairmined Gold. The program, created by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) in 2007 and resulting in the Fairmined label in 2014, aims to implement mining facilities that apply rigorous ecological, social and humane standards.
Unlike other forms of uncontrolled gold panning, this mining industry is legal, organized by and for the miners themselves, in a cooperative-style management. It respects the environment, human rights, international labor regulations, and applies Fairtrade standards.
Today, 10 mines in the world have qualified for this label in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Mongolia, and about 50 more are undergoing modifications in view of being certified shortly.
The Fairmined label audits and certifies the mines, as well as each operator along the production process (refiners, smelters, jewellery-makers), making sure they exclusively use their Gold and respect its traceability, from the mine up to the final product. JEM is Fairmined certified, and audited each year.
Fairmined Gold mining provides a rewarding labor environment, with decent working conditions and fair wages.
The "human development" bonus – granted by partners of the Fairmined label – goes toward implementing and managing healthcare facilities, insurance, and education for children. This activity contributes to the growth of local economy, reduces poverty and corruption (money laundering, weapon funding) and helps to bring social appeasement in these countries. By giving craft miners access to export markets for their raw materials in fairer conditions, by strengthening their social status within their own countries (but also in the international trade market), Fairmined allows them to practice their craft with pride and dignity.
Fairmined’s actions reduce the harmful impact of uncontrolled gold mining.
Several steps in the production process replace the use of mercury in favor of less harmful chemicals. Strict control of chemical manipulation and waste prevents the contamination of the soil and water, thereby protecting the food chain. Small-scale artisanal exploitation helps protect biodiversity. The label also anticipates and organizes the restoration of original ecosystems.