13 jewelers and SuPPLIERs from America, Asia and Europe traveled to Peru on May 21 to discover the originS of THE Fairmined certified gold, a precious metal they use to create their pieces. The Fairmined certified mining organizations, located in the Ananea district at more than 4,500 m.a.s.l. in the highest region of Peru, WHIT A spectacular setting where visitors could appreciate the richness of the Peruvian lands, and its best element, its people.
The landscape is impressive. The open sky and some clouds painted over snow-capped peaks sculpted by the wind are a prize for those who reach that height. Oxygen and altitude symptoms put the body to the test, but the 13 visitors drink the coca tea offered by the miners to recover and start the journey. There are three mines to know Cecomip, Oro Puno and Cruz Pata Chaquiminas.
Eugenio Calcina Quispe from Cecomip, Edgar Gutierrez Cayro from Oro Puno, and Agustin Pachari Flores from Cruz Pata, leaders of each mining organization, accompanied the jewelers and authorized suppliers from start to finish. They have answered questions about alluvial mining, “chutes”, and the recovery of gold. It has been the union of 2 ends of the responsible jewelry chain that, despite being geographically far away, have in common their commitment to the transformation of mining communities’ lives.
Miners told the stories of their mines, explained their procedures, and proudly showed their gravimetric tables, which are an ecological system for separating gold without resorting to mercury. At the end of the tour, jewelers and miners gathered to see the smelting of gold in ingot form, far from their workshops, this moment was the most familiar thing they could see during the trip.
A JOURNEY TO LEARN AND TEACH
The next visit was to the jewelry workshop of Las Divinas en Brillo de Oro, a project of the Cecomip organization, which brings together women, who, in addition to working in the mine, alternate their days with the exploration and design of jewelry using Fairmined gold and silver.
THE STORY IS NOT THE SAME IN THE SURROUNDING MINES
Fairmined certified miners in Puno are a small group compared to the number of mines that operate there informally, without safety precautions for the miners, environmental preservation, or fair trade. These mining organizations certified with the Fairmined Standard are the demonstration and the example that responsible mining can be developed with people and the environment, offering the world gold to be proud of. They are an inspiration for other organizations in the area that still do not have the best mining practices.
In addition to visiting and seeing the gold extraction process, the travelers were guided by the miners in different activities that they carry out in addition to mining. The Cruz Pata organization, for example, has alpaca breeding, an ancestral activity in the area, and a pond where they breed trout.
The miners are improving their practices, and seek to take their gold around the world, weaving stories of environmental preservation, respect for human rights, fair trade, and social development.
The market has the power to transform this reality, and these 13 members of the Fairmined family are a great example that responsible jewelry is possible, brands committed to transforming the lives of miners, and miners are a source of pride.
Thanks to Ethical jewels, Gina Melosi, Paulette a Bicyclette, Cosmos Circle Jewelry, Keiko Oshima, Daniella Samper, Alloy, Wonder fine jewelry, Saskia Shutt, Jan Spille schmuk, Fairever Gold & Lakdawala, who joined us on this journey to build a better future.