Peru is one of the most important countries in the world for gold production. It is estimated, that around 100 Mio. families and their members are working small scale mining and that they extract about 15% of the world’s need for gold, but represent 90% of the total workforce in the gold mining sector.
The large international mining companies dominate the market although the majority of the workforce who work in the gold mines work in many smaller mines. Such a mine is found in a small village in the Atacama desert in the south of Peru.
The inhabitants of the village Cuatro Horas live almost exclusively from gold mining. In 2000 the independent prospectors joined together in a limited company. The Mineras Aurifera Cuatro de Enero S.A. (MACDESA) was certified Fairtade for the first time 15 years later. This certification means that MACDESA can sell the gold at better conditions and can invest the additional revenue for the benefit of the village.
Moreover, certification is an important step for the further development of the organisation because the Standards stipulate measures such as safety and health training as well as a responsible consideration of the environment.
Use of the Fairtrade premium
The Fairtrade premium is an additional amount that is paid for social projects, as well as for future development projects of the mining organisation.
Thus, for example, investments are made in the working conditions on-site (such as better equipment in the mine and equipping the foundry with ovens, generator sets, drills etc.).
Salaries of teachers who work in the districts are paid with the premium. The living conditions of the members’ families can also be improved by modernising the housing. In case of illness or death the members’ families are also financially supported.
In the last years MACDESA has built new housing and sanitary facilities and invested in technical equipment for the mine (pneumatic shovels, electric winches, intercom system), all by means of the premium. Medical care, as well as the electrification of Cuatro Horas have been improved.
In addition to our recycling of gold alloys we are the sole Swiss supplier of semi-finished products to also offer Fairtrade gold. We stock metal sheet and rolled wire, as well as casting alloys at Brogioli SA, Schaffhausen.
By offering Fairtrade gold we support a sustainable new production and provide the mining communities with a livelihood and good opportunities for a better life.
Our Fairtrade alloys can be found in our list of alloys as well as in the shop.