Sep 22, 2017

First Shipment of Fairtrade Gold Made from Uganda, Jewellery Collection by Christmas

The first ever shipment of African Fairtrade gold from Uganda, a limited symbolic shipment, was displayed to delegates at a Fairtrade Foundation conference ‘Fairtrade Gold: Future Innovations’ at the Goldsmiths Centre by Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation. He told the audience that a select number of jewellery pieces made from the precious metal are expected to go on sale in stores in time for Christmas.

Gidney said that the first formal full ‘trade’ of African gold from Uganda will take place in October, with CRED Jewellers, supported by Greg Valerio and EWAD. He said that Fairtrade will then scale up work to reach other mine sites from Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya and to grow the volume of Fairtrade gold available to be exported on Fairtrade terms.

In addition to the Fairtrade price, the ambition is to generate $50,000 worth of impact for miners via the Fairtrade Premium by 2020 through sales of the gold to a range of jewellers and manufacturers.

In Uganda, till now gold has been mined by unlicensed small scale artisanal miners and most of the production had been exported illegally, Fairtrade said. The organization estimated that 130,000 people are directly employed in this activity, and a further 800,000 benefit indirectly. Total gold production has been estimated at 2.8 metric tonnes per year. There is also smuggling of gold, and there are a number of concerns about the use of child labour, human rights abuses, environmental and human health issues etc.

Fairtrade is supporting small scale mine sites in East Africa to access international markets on improved terms of trade to help transform the lives of artisanal small scale miners across Africa. Fairtrade certified gold will reach not just jewellers, but businesses in the tech sector too.

Gidney also introduced the cutting-edge new Investment Facility which has been carefully designed to give artisanal small-scale gold miners access to finance, often for the first time, to invest in cleaner, more efficient equipment for processing gold. This will reduce miners’ reliance on mercury and accelerate their alignment with Fairtrade standards. 

He concluded, “These first pioneering grains of gold … represent safer working conditions, hope, and better lives for miners who struggle to put food on their table each day… Gold not only symbolizes prosperity and luxury but also has the potential to create economic security in all the lives it touches”.