At the end of March and the beginning of April, the Alliance for Responsible Mining held participatory sessions with artisanal and small-scale miners from different regions of Colombia with the aim of gathering their perceptions to create the third version of the Fairmined standard 3.0. This standard promotes responsible mining, social development, and economic growth in mining communities.
MORE GENDER EQUITY IN THE SECTOR
More than 40 women miners participated in the workshop: “How, from the vision of artisanal miners, do we contribute to reinforcing the Fairmined 3.0 standard with a gender lens?” This space allowed them to reflect on the key points to develop fair mining from the reality of mining women: legality and legitimacy, understanding of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) as an economic activity (profitability), ethical practices, fair trade relations, health and safety training, non-violence, non-discrimination, water care, mercury management, risk management in conflict areas and local dialogue. In addition, the 45 women miners who participated highlighted the need to differentiate the Fairmined criteria for artisanal miners from the criteria for small-scale miners. This workshop was held as part of the Colombian’s Mining Women Convention, within the framework of the project that ARM develops with the MIT D- Lab to promote gender equity in the sector.
The socialization of their experiences as women miners and their expectations for the future are essential for the configuration of a renewed Fairmined standard, in which they took the initiative to lead issues such as gender equality and environmental preservation.
“We have to show ourselves, show that we have valuable knowledge, that we have laws that protect us, that we are not less than anyone. Raise our voices, come out of anonymity without fear, and be empowered. To say: “here we are, we are learning, we are training.” says Erika Sierra, an artisanal mining woman from the Andes, Antioquia.
Strengthen the formalization and protection of the environment
For their part, miners from small-scale organizations developed the Workshop: “Building the Fairmined 3.0 standard: comments from ASM organizations and leaders” with the participation of 17 mining representatives from different regions of Colombia invited to discuss the recent proposal of the Fairmined 3.0 standard, the marketing criteria and the new measurement scale. The participants expressed their challenges, concerns, and experiences of being responsible miners, and highlighted the challenges that persist in formalization, access to financial services, formal marketing, and access to technologies. This dialogue was developed with 10 mining leaders from Peru and Bolivia, in an effort to collect the perceptions of men and women miners from other contexts.
In both spaces, the participants provided valuable contributions with a view to facilitating the entry of new mining organizations to the certification, suggested grouping and simplifying requirements, and agreed with the proposal for measuring compliance with the standard to facilitate audit processes.
They asked to reinforce environmental requirements and expressed concern about the disposal of mercury deposits found in nature as a result of illegal mining practices. Their priority is the implementation of technologies for gold extraction in an environmentally friendly way, and they suggest that the Fairmined premium can be used to finance the formalization requirements on a temporary basis to cushion the high costs.