Gold has always fascinated people. There are not only many myths and dazzling stories surrounding the enduring raw material. The raw material is an integral part of our lives. Gold is not only used in the jewellery industry, but also for the production of electronic and medical devices and for the financial sector. We all have daily contact with this resource. Be it through the jewellery we wear, the mobile phone, tablet or computer we use, or the financial system that automatically underlies much of it.
Gold mining is a highly damaging process – for the environment but also for the miners.
Generally, a distinction is made between industrial gold mining and small-scale gold mining.
The latter employs an estimated 25 to 30 million people worldwide. (Artisanal and small-scale gold mining = ASGM).
About 100 million people are indirectly part of the supply chain.
Only about 20% of the global gold demand comes from this type of mining, yet 80% of the people working in gold mining are employed in ASGM.
The challenges in this sector are immense. Human rights violations, illegal logging and child labour are just a few of the issues related to gold mining.
In addition, gold miners are constantly exposed to highly toxic chemicals such as mercury, which are used in gold mining. This not only has fatal consequences for people, but also has a harmful impact on the environment.
But there are ways to deal differently with the mining of this fascinating raw material.