Fairtrade & Fairmined Gold arrives from AURELSA

Ingle & Rhode is delighted to announce the arrival of the first ever shipment of certified Fairtrade & Fairmined gold from Peruvian gold producer, AURELSA. The gold has just arrived this morning from our partner, S&P Trading.

We are thrilled that AURELSA, which is only the fourth gold producer in the world to receive Fairtrade & Fairmined gold certification, has joined our growing list of ethical suppliers.

Fairtrade & Fairmined gold was launched in the UK on 14 February 2011. Its aim is to ensure that artisanal and small-scale miners can produce and sell gold without being exploited; that workers have fair pay and conditions; that they work without using child labour, and that they do not pollute the environment.

AURELSA received its certification in May 2012 after a series of independent audits. Achieving Fairtrade & Fairmined gold certification allows AURELSA to receive a guaranteed Fairtrade Minimum Price as well as a Fairtarde Premium Payment, which is democratically reinvested in community projects and will improve miners’ operations.

This news not only highlights a growing demand from consumers for fair-trade gold, but will also improve its availability in the UK. We are proud to be able to offer our clients Fairtrade & Fairmined gold from another responsible source. Ingle & Rhode is one of a handful of retailers licensed by The Fairtrade Foundation to supply Fairtrade & Fairmined Gold.

Patrick Schein and some AURELSA miners (courtesy of Patrick Shein)

The story of AURELSA

AURELSA is located in the village of Relave in the Ayacucho region of Peru.

The location of the Ayacucho region, Peru, in the Peruvian Atacama desert (courtesy of Wikipedia)

It was in the mid 1980s that many Peruvian families and individuals who were displaced by violence and economic hardship came to this region in search of a livelihood. They settled as informal miners working on the tailings (relaves) left by previous mining operations.

In 1986, they formed the Asociación de Mineros Artesanales de Relave with 200 miners and started building the village. In 1993, they gained governmental recognition as a settlement annex, which was the first step towards having a school. They sought the guidance of authorities and professionals to improve their mining methods and engaged with the Ministry of Mines. To access mining titles, they were advised to form a private company and invited the whole community to join their collective effort. 86 individuals chose to invest their time and money in creating AURELSA. The company was subsequently established on 26 July 1997 with 78 men and eight women, holding mineral rights over 1,000 hectares (about 2,500 acres).

Three groups of affiliated workers and various groups of independent miners operate seven underground hard rock mines, producing about 3.5kg of pure gold per month.

There are now about 600 families in the municipality of Relave. Other mining companies and processing plants, Ballón, Milagros, and Cominsa, provide services for artisanal mining so that not all development activity depends on AURELSA. However, AURELSA provides electricity to the village at a subsidised rate from 6pm to 10pm, and it is often asked to support community initiatives.

Relave has three schools for over 500 students and a health centre. The community is working on the urban development of the village. The mayor of Relave, who also is AURELSA’s general manager, has been actively involved with other miners in lobbying for and advocating the recognition of rights of artisanal miners and the creation of artisanal mining laws in Peru.

The miners still face many ongoing challenges. These include:

  • improving their processing methods
  • setting up a laboratory for gold assaying
  • building their own carbon desorption plant
  • increasing training in trading expertise to export and deal with importers in Europe and the US
  • improving shareholder participation in the company’s activities and accessing working capital and credit to implement better technology and enlist all workers onto the payroll.

However, the miners exported their first consignment of gold to France in October 2008, and attained Fairtrade & Fairmined certification in May of 2012. They have a lot to be proud of.

Pure Fairtrade & Fairmined Gold Granules
Pure Fairtrade & Fairmined Gold Granules

Pure Fairtrade & Fairmined Gold Granules

Find out more about Ingle & Rhode’s involvement in Fairtrade & Fairmined Gold.

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