Jun 27, 2017

Canadian Jeweller Produces Gold Rings with First Ever Responsibly Sourced Gold from Congo

Canada’s Fair Trade Jewellery Co. has produced the first ever collection of four gold rings crafted entirely with responsibly mined and conflict-free artisanal gold sourced from eastern Congo. This milestone has been achieved in collaboration with Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), which operates the Just Gold project in East Congo.

Each ring in the collection has been engraved with a lot number, which traces it to a specific mine site in the DRC's Ituri Province, where the gold originated, making it the first ever piece of jewellery (or any other consumer good) in which the gold can be fully traced from mine to consumer.

The export of gold and its use in jewellery comes just a month after PAC announced that it had successfully implemented a system to trace legal and conflict-free artisanal gold in DRC, with a proven chain of custody from mine site to exporter under its Just Gold project.

Shortly thereafter, Fair Trade Jewellery Co., a Toronto-based pioneer in ethical sourcing, sustainability and retail, imported the 238 grams in three gold doré bars which have now been used to create the rings.

Robin Gambhir, Fair Trade Jewellery Co. co-founder, said, "After more than a decade of ensuring that our materials are responsibly-sourced, we're delighted to add Just Gold to the gold options we currently offer our clients. Ensuring we source fully traceable materials directly from communities is a way to foster community development, and as a company—deepen our impact on many stakeholders."

Gambhir added that though sourcing from Congo was a “new and exceptionally ambitious process”, it could be achieved achieving because of partners on the ground, like Partnership Africa Canada.

Joanne Lebert, PAC's Executive Director, said, "Saying that it is impossible to carry out due diligence on gold supply chains is no longer a valid argument for industry.  We have proven otherwise… with this export from Bunia, DRC to Toronto. We have shown that every gram of gold can be accompanied by reliable quantitative and qualitative data about its provenance and the actors involved in its extraction, production and trade."

The Just Gold project has over 600 miners registered across six sites in Ituri Province of Congo.  It creates incentives for artisanal gold miners to channel their product to legal exporters—and eventually responsible consumers—by offering fair and transparent pricing and by providing capacity-building, such as technical assistance to miners in return for legal sales. Miners are taught better exploitation techniques and are offered Just Gold project equipment. In return, gold they produce must be tracked and sold through legal channels.

The project is funded by Global Affairs Canada, with additional funding by USAID through the Capacity Building for Responsible Minerals Trade (CBRMT) project and International Organization for Migration.

Pic caption: Rings from the Fair Trade Jewellery Co’s ethically sourced collection

Pic courtesy Zuzia Danielski (PAC)