Aunexum and Solidaridad partner to invest in responsible ASM gold

02 January 2020

Dutch-based gold company Aunexum Precious Metals Group and Solidaridad have partnered up to jointly invest in artisanal and small-scale (ASM) gold mining. We will look into suitable methods for mercury-free gold mining in Ghana and Tanzania, as well as investigate the possibilities for direct purchasing of responsible gold from ASM gold mines.

James Blamefull, mine worker in an ASM gold mine in Ghana, wearing his old (left) and new working gear. Photo: Annemarieke van den Broek

Urban mining and responsible mining 

Vincent Kersten, director of Aunexum, explains more about the new partnership with Solidaridad:

“Aunexum wants to purchase gold from responsible recycling and mining. For that reason, we invest time and knowledge in ‘urban mining’ as well as responsible artisanal and small-scale gold mining. 

I hope that the entire Dutch gold sector will get involved in this!”

Heske Verburg, managing director of Solidaridad Europe, emphasizes the importance of direct investments in responsible ASM gold mining:

“It is estimated that around 25 million ASM gold miners worldwide work with mercury, which is extremely dangerous to the point of being deadly. It is really important for the wellbeing of mine workers that Aunexum is now investing time and knowledge in the development of mercury-free mining methods."

Golden Line in Ghana en Tanzania

The new partnership is part of the Golden Line programme in Ghana and Tanzania, a joint programme by Solidaridad, Simavi and Healthy Entrepreneurs. We are working together with the mining communities, companies and governments on responsible gold mining as well as on strengthening the position of women in the mines and mining communities. It is estimated that in Ghana, around half the miners are female, and in Tanzania, about a quarter of the miners. In addition to the dangers faced by many ASM miners, female mine workers also regularly have to deal with gender-based discrimination and violence.

Stephen Kithuka, Solidaridad’s programme manager in East Africa, explains:

“We also involve men in the  discussions on male-female relations. In this way, we highlight the importance of women’s rights among the men and the leaders of the mining communities.”

Men and women in mining community involved in the Golden Line programme in discussion on gender equality related topics

Gold in jewellery and investments 

The global demand for gold in 2018 was 4400 tonnes, with a current value of around 176 billion euros (40,000 euros per kilogram of gold). The jewellery industry represents about half of the worldwide demand for gold; investors and financial institutions purchase 40%, and around 10% is used in technological applications, such as in dentistry and electronics.

The harms of gold mining for people and planet 

Two-thirds of the gold on the international market comes from mining, and one-third from the recycling of jewellery and electronics. ASM gold mines produce 20% of the worldwide supply in primary gold and this share is growing because large-scale mines are becoming depleted. Both large-scale and small-scale mines are responsible for causing problems for people and the environment. Moreover, in some countries mining is also used for financing armed conflicts and war.

Read more about Solidaridad’s gold programme

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