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From an Ecuadorian Gold Mine, Signs of Promise

By Toby Pomeroy | April 30th, 2012 | 1 comments

At the recent “Gold: Vision, Value and Values” Initiatives in Art and Culture Conference in New York, I heard a distinct shift in tone and timbre regarding sustainability and human rights in the mining sector while there were also the familiar tunes being played. 

Ed Opitz of Kinross mines jarred some strongly held views when he described their Fruta del Norte Project in Ecuador, which they acquired in 2009.

Kinross has created agreements with seven pre-existing artisanal mining projects that are allowed to continue mining using traditional methods on the land to which Kinross owns mining rights.  Not bad for a publicly traded corporate mining entity with ten active gold mines on four continents.

The Ecuadorian government wanted to forcibly remove the miners and Kinross chose instead to work with the miners to reduce conflict. Kinross appears to be living up to its motto: “We put people first.”

It was also encouraging to hear several expressions of commitment to “social and environmental sustainability” from David Lamb, the World Gold Council’s Managing Director of Jewelry. His words are ones we like to hear and it would be good to know more about specific actions being taken.

“We provide insights into the international gold markets, helping people to better understand the wealth preservation qualities of gold and its role in meeting the social and environmental needs of society.”      WGC

Adopting and transparently adhering to standards where mining, processing, utilizing and selling gold contributes to society’s environmental and social needs would be a worthy goal for us all. 

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May 2 ,2012

I wonder what the "traditional methods" are- is this the most profitable/environmentally sound way for the artisanal mining coops to be operating?

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