Making a difference
Gold is mined all over the world, the metal-rich rock, known as ore, is extracted from the Earth’s crust, often using primitive equipment and archaic practices. Globally, 90% of gold miners are artisanal and an estimated 10 million people worldwide rely on small-scale mining to support their families and communities. Miners work in remote areas and have few other options for making a living.
In non-Fairtrade small-scale gold mines, miners extract the precious metal using toxic chemicals such as mercury, which is harmful to human health and the environment. They simply can’t afford to use safer processing methods. This can cause birth defects, brain and kidney damage, and can contaminate water supplies, entering the food chain through poisoned fish. Small-scale gold mining is currently the largest source of mercury pollution in the world!