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More than 70 jewellery retailers say no to irresponsible mining

LONDON, 28 June — Monday night, Channel 4's Dispatches exposed the truth about the international gold trade: despite a growing movement for more responsible mining, the use of child labor, dangerous working conditions and environmental destruction remain widespread. The programme also revealed that some UK jewellers who tell customers their gold or other precious metals were mined responsibly are either unclear about the details of their supply chains, or just plain wrong.

Consumers with a conscience should know that over 70 jewellers worldwide, including Fifi Bijoux, April Doubleday and Ingle & Rhode in the UK, have signed the Golden Rules, a set of of social, human rights, and environmental criteria for more responsible mining of gold and other precious metals. (For a full list of signatories, please see: http://www.nodirtygold.org/supporting_retailers.cfm)

Many of these jewellers have also signed on to the Bristol Bay Protection pledge, promising to not use gold from the proposed Pebble mine, which UK-based Anglo American wants to dig at the headwaters of the world's most valuable salmon fishery in Alaska.

“It's time for jewellers to provide assurance to their customers that they care about where their gold comes from, said Lucy Pearce, UK campaigner for Earthworks, an international mining reform organisation that leads the No Dirty Gold campaign. We're calling on all jewelers to take a stand against dirty gold by signing on to the Golden Rules.

The Golden Rules call on mining companies to meet the following basic standards in their operations:

  • Respect basic human rights outlined in international conventions and law
  • Obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of affected communities.
  • Respect workers' rights and labor standards
  • Ensure that operations are not located in areas of armed or militarized conflict
  • Ensure that projects do not force communities off their lands
  • Ensure that projects are not located in protected areas, fragile ecosystems, or other areas of high conservation or ecological value
  • Refrain from dumping mine wastes into the ocean, rivers, lakes, or streams
  • Ensure that projects do not contaminate water, soil, or air with sulfuric acid drainage or other toxic chemicals
  • Cover all costs of closing down and cleaning up mine sites
  • Fully disclose information about social and environmental effects of projects
  • Allow independent verification of the above
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