New European partnership for responsible minerals founded

Today in Brussels, Solidaridad signed a new partnership with governments, companies and civil society organizations to support activities for increasing the supply of and demand for responsibly-sourced, conflict free minerals. Another goal of the partnership is to create a knowledge platform for responsible sourcing of the four so-called conflict minerals: tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. Alongside Solidaridad, other signatories include Philips, Intel, Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative, International Peace Information Service, as well as the British and Dutch ministries for development cooperation.

Jennifer Horning, global gold programme manager for Solidaridad, is enthusiastic about the new initiative. “As Solidaridad, we can build on our experience with other multi-stakeholder initiatives in the gold mining and jewellery sectors including the Responsible Jewellery Council, Fairmined and Fairtrade gold. Strong European support from both public and private partners can help us raise awareness in the European jewellery, financial and electronics sectors and support mining areas to make mineral extraction responsible,” she said.

The EU takes action

The EU is preparing conflict minerals regulation aimed at breaking the link between conflict and mineral extraction. The participants in the partnership believe, however, regulation cannot solve all issues in mining.

The partnership is in its inception phase, which means participants can still have a major influence on its functioning. Now is the right time for electronics and jewellery brands, as well as financial institutions, which buy gold and finance mining, to step in and make sure that minerals are mined responsibly. – Jennifer Horning, International Programme Coordinator for Gold

Solidaridad expects that the partnership will deliver much-needed, urgent assistance in African countries that are torn by conflict, as we
ll as in more stable countries where human rights violations are still regularly linked to mining. Over time, the partnership can support stable communities and future development, which can not only stop abuses but also prevent future conflict. This partnership should create a win for consumers in Europe, as well as the people living in mining areas in the more than 80 countries where mining takes place today.

Looking for golden opportunities

Solidaridad is dedicated to seeking solutions for the issues mentioned above. Alongside small-scale miners, we engage with industrial mines, brands, and gold buyers through our strategic approach of working across the supply chain from miner to retail. The biggest market need is to increase the supply of good gold to meet an ever increasing demand for responsibly sourced, non-conflict minerals.

By helping buyers within the industry understand whether they are sourcing responsible gold, we increase their awareness of their situation and available options for them to support certified gold production. Thus far, we have put more than 10 mining communities directly in touch with buyers. To date, we have worked with 29 miners associations, 5,200 miners and 35,000 of their community members in eight different countries.