A Better Path For Brazil’s Mining Industry

By Edward on August 30, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Maybe you missed it in the recent overabundance of bad news, but last week, Brazil opened up a swath of the Amazon rainforest the size of Denmark to mining interests. Today the court just suspended this decree among an outcry from activists and Brazilian celebrities like Gisele.

 

“The Amazon forest helps maintain the balance so life can continue on our planet.” From Gisele’s Post on Instagram.

The Amazon, often described as the “lungs of the Earth”, is the largest rainforest in the world.

The Amazon, often described as the “lungs of the Earth”, is the largest rainforest in the world.

 

“The federal court in the capital Brasilia said in a statement it was suspending “‘possible administrative acts based on the decree” signed by President Michel Temer.”

 

Though things are looking up, we have to stay alert. To understand the potential environmental toll this presents, just do a quick search for “gold mining impact” or read this recent article on the perils of the Latin American gold rush.

 

Coal mines like the Lumbung Mine are having a huge impact on local and indigenous populations in Indonesia, destroying the environment and polluting river water, normally used for cooking. Central Kalimantan, Borneo. June 8th 2013. The World Development Movement is campaigning for banks and other parts of the financial sector to be forced to disclose the carbon footprint of their investments.

Coal mines like the Lumbung Mine (above) are having a huge impact on local and indigenous populations in Indonesia, destroying the environment and polluting river water.

 

From The Guardian article:

“Illegally mined gold has overtaken cocaine to become Peru and Colombia’s most lucrative illicit export, according to a new report that warns the shift from drug cultivation to criminal mining in many Latin American countries is fuelling “staggering” human rights abuses and wrecking the environment.”

Though promises from the officials involved in the decision, to protect conservation and indigenous land areas, mean very little, a little knowledge of the issues and strong activism can offer hope for the future.  While undoubtedly bad news overall, the hard work of artisanal miners and others in the sector over the last 10-15 years has meant that there is a new precedent for mining that does not damage the environment and respects local communities.

 

No matter what, mining has a tremendous impact on the environment .

No matter what, mining has a tremendous impact on the environment.

The activities of groups in neighboring Colombia have set the tone for what those inside the industry hope will become a characteristic of some of the extraction due to take place in Brazil.  As recently as June, Revista Semana, one of Columbia’s most read publications looked at the groundbreaking, advances taking place within its mining sector:

 

“A group of artisanal miners demonstrated that artisanal mining and environmental destruction are not two sides of the same coin. They seek to protect the biodiversity of their territory and prove that artisanal mining can be done responsibly. Through these practices, they have secured sales of their ecologically-mined gold to ethical jewelers at the international level.”

 

 

While there will undoubtedly be abuses, corruptions, and confrontations it’s down to consumers and businesses, to demand greater transparency and the implementation of hard fought for reforms and best practices for ethical mining.

Fairmined– Gold that Gives Back

By Constance on August 8, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Need a little cheering up? Just look down at that certified Fairmined gold ring on your finger. We spent a little free time getting down with the annual report to see the improvements from money collected for the reinvestment in Fairmining communities. Here’s a small breakdown of where your support went.

Aug 8_Fairmined_Pride_Casting_grains

 

  • Aurelsa (Peru) focused its investment on geological and environmental studies, which allowed to include more artisanal miners in their mining concession.
    The certified mining organizations of La Llanada (Colombia), used the Premium to buy highly expensive safety equipment, which would have been impossible to acquire without this financial resource. The cooperative also invested in its workers and the community with the creation of a fund and a bonus for the mine workers to improve their houses.

Aurelsa Mine_Peru_2

 

  • Sotrami (Peru) invested in the construction of treatment plants for residual water in the mine, a water pump for the mining community and improvements in the living area for their workers. Furthermore, they supported the local educational facility and bought protection equipment for the women’s mineral sorting Association “Nueva Esperanza”.

  • In Iquira (Colombia), the Premium helped to finance the management system for occupational health and safety, environmental mining studies and loan funds for unexpected events. It was also used to support educational and religious facilities.
  • The certified mining organizations of La Llanada (Colombia), used the Premium to buy highly expensive safety equipment, which would have been impossible to acquire without this financial resource. The cooperative also invested in its workers and the community with the creation of a fund and a bonus for the mine workers to improve their houses.

Coodmilla Mine_1_Fairmined

 

“Responsible mining means doing fair mining with nature, that doesn’t work with violence or forces us to work. Here we don’t use mercury or cyanide, we do reforestation and we work hard to not contaminate the water. It’s all about making things grow”. – Henry Guerrón, Chief at Coodmilla Mine.

Information was provided by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) annual report. ARM established the Fairmined Standard and is a leading expert on small-scale and artisanal mining. They set standards to make sure that the miners and their families and communities are economically and socially improving while staying environmentally responsible.

Explore the annual reports on Fairmined Gold reinvestment here.