Last night NBC aired “The Price of Gold”. The program traveled to the west African country of Mali to explore the gold mines of the region that have boomed since the spike in gold prices. Richard Engel sits down with young boys who work in the mines only to be paid in bags of dirt, he hears stories of children being pulled from school to mine from gold, and visits families that are constantly exposed to the highly toxic mercury and its fumes during the crude separating process.
The report is as disturbing as it is important.
The report ends by asking the right questions:
- How can we know where our gold comes from?
- How is this kind of mining still happening?
- What are the steps companies are taking that want tot make a difference?
- What we as consumers can do to pressure companies to reject dirty gold?
These are important questions the mining industry and gold jewelers often dodge. However, the program rightly places a lot of responsibility on the gold retailers and consumers.
There is a lot of work to do, and that’s why the No Dirty Gold campaign is continuing to pressure Macy’s and Costco to join every other major jewelry retailer in the US by signing the “Golden Rules” for responsible metals sourcing. The Golden Rules puts forth steps for retailers to take to make sure they are not selling dirty gold. In not signing the Golden Rules Macy’s and Costco is sending the message that they don’t care where their gold comes from, even if it is from these mines in Mali.
Would you shop at Macy’s or Costco if they don’t care to know if their gold comes from the mines in Mali, or the other mines around the world just like them?