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How to spot ethical gold

As one of the most prized minerals on the planet, the allure of gold is universally common and yet obtaining consistent information about gold and its source of origin can be surprising complex.

As consumers become increasingly environmentally and ethically conscious, a range of certifications, collaboratives and initiatives have emerged to provide consumers with information about their gold choices.

Fairtrade, fairmined, responsible and recycled are all terms that can be found in jewellery stores. But the reality is around 90% of gold on the market is processed using the hazardous chemicals of cyanide or mercury, which are harmful to workers, communities and the environment.

When consumers gaze across the glittering gold in a jewellery store, they are usually viewing items made of gold extracted using hazardous chemicals, with some gold even produced by companies associated with human rights and environmental abuses.

This has prompted a challenging question – how do consumers and jewellers ensure they’re buying ethical, responsibly produced gold?

It’s that question Clean Mining is keen to address.

Clean Mining Managing Director, Jeff McCulloch, says the company not only offers gold processing technology which removes cyanide and mercury from the gold processing system but a certification system that assures gold is responsible and ethically produced.

Clean Mining

The gold comes with a stamp of certainty, the distinctive CleanGold™ leaf, which is an accreditation standard that assures consumers and jewellers they are purchasing a premium product.

CleanGold™ certification, which is accredited by Clean Mining as a leader in globally responsible mining technology, assures buyers the gold has been produced without the use of cyanide or mercury and in line with a range of other ethical standards and ‘clean’ concepts.

Consumers and jewellers will find the logo on bullion and jewellery produced using the Clean Mining technology or on gold produced using the same ‘clean’ standards of production and supply.

CleanGold™ certification can be considered the premium assurance of environment and ethical standards. However, it can also be found alongside other certifications, which are important to understand.

The other main certifications include:

  • Fairmined Ecological Gold – an accreditation by the non-profit organisation, Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), as a label for artisanal and small-scale miners who meet the FairminedGold social, organisational and economic standards and who do not use any toxic chemicals in their extraction processes.
  • Fairtrade Foundation’s Fairtrade Certified Gold – from artisanal and small-scale operators who mine, process and trade gold in a fair and responsible manner through a traceable supply chain. Miners receive a Fairtrade minimum price for their product.
  • GreenCircle Certified Gold – a third-party evaluation process that aims to recognise gold that is manufactured in a responsible and environmentally safe manner.
  • Recycled Gold – gold that is reused and repurposed into new gold products, where the source of origin is not necessarily recognised to known.

Read more about ethical gold certifications here.

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