Clean gold versus dirty gold. It is hard to distinguish it from the finished product. The truth lies out there in the mines where and how they were extracted.
Modern industrial gold mining destroys landscapes and creates huge amounts of toxic waste. Due to the use of dirty practices such as open pit mining, companies generate about 20 tons of toxic waste for every 0.333 ounce gold ring. The waste, usually a gray liquid sludge, is laden with deadly cyanide and toxic metals. Many gold mines dump their waste directly into natural water bodies.
Hence, the gold extracted from such irresponsible mines are referred as dirty gold. In contrast, clean gold refers to gold that has been mined in an environmentally, socially and economically way.
Environmental concerns surrounding gold mining therefore cannot be overlooked: a gold watch represents 150 metric tons of toxic waste, much of which ends up polluting the environment.
Increasingly, consumers especially the millennials are putting the pressure on jewellers to ensure that the gold used on jewelleries and watches are ethically sourced. One such company responding to this call, is Chopard, a Swiss manufacturer and retailer of luxury watches, jewellery and accessories.
Chopard boldly states on its website that “the artisanal and small-scale gold we purchase is exclusively sourced from mines located in Peru and Colombia, all participating either in the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA) system or in Fairmined and Fairtrade Certification Schemes.
Under Fairmined Certification, there are Fairmined Gold and Fairmined Ecological Gold. Fairminded Ecological Gold is produced under the same strict standard for responsible mining as Fairmined Gold in terms of social organisation and economic criteria. But, there is one difference where regular Fairmined Gold is produced with responsible management and toxic chemicals like mercury and cyanide, Fairmined Ecological Gold do not use any toxic chemicals at all in their extraction process.
Wouldn’t it be better if all gold mines do not use any toxic chemicals? Gold mining companies can go one step further by eliminating the use of cyanide and mercury altogether. Clean Mining’s (part of Clean Earth Technologies Group) non-toxic gold recovery reagent can make a positive impact as mining operators evolve their operations to be cleaner and safer for miners and the environment. This will also eliminate the need for tailing dams altogether.