Guardian: Nu ook fairtrade keurmerk voor goud

Gold mining goes hand in hand with war, environmental degradation and poor health. As the world’s first hallmark for Fairtrade gold is launched in the UK, Kate Carter reports on a industry that is crying out for an ethical overhaul

“You are selling a high-value, aesthetic, aspirational, emotional product, which is pitched as the epitome of luxury, but the source is butt-ugly,” says Greg Valerio, a jeweller who has spent more than a decade energetically haranguing his industry to focus more on human rights. “It’s brutish, it’s horrible. The gold you are buying could be from a completely reputable mine – or it could be from one whose security guards are institutionally raping local people. You just don’t know.”

Gold is one of the most potent symbols of wealth, power, glamour and – today of all days- of romance. But the industry is often secretive, exploitative and highly unregulated. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, gold and other minerals are funding a war where five million people have died since 1996, yet there is no global campaign to ban trafficking of blood gold. It is often extracted by the most vulnerable and disenfranchised – in Ivory Coast, for instance, the UN has reported how five-year-old girls are sent down pits- yet few seem to realise. It causes enormous environmental damage, with mercury and cyanide often used in the extraction process, but these issues are rarely thrust into the spotlight.

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Krista Russchen

18 februari 2011