Aunexum invests in small-scale gold mining
Gold company Aunexum Precious Metals Group and Solidaridad are going to invest together in responsible small-scale gold mining. They are investigating suitable techniques for mercury-free gold mining in Ghana and Tanzania. They are also investigating the possibilities of buying in responsible gold directly from small-scale mining.
Urban mining and responsible mining Vincent Kersten, director of Aunexum, explains why he is working with Solidaridad: ‘Aunexum wants to buy gold from responsible recycling and mining. That is why we are investing time and knowledge in urban mining and responsible small-scale gold mining. I hope that the entire Dutch gold sector will go for that!
Heske Verburg, Solidaridad’s director, emphasizes the importance of direct investment in responsible small-scale gold mining: ‘Worldwide, an estimated 25 million small-scale gold miners are working with the life-threatening mercury. The fact that Aunexum is now investing knowledge and time in the development of mercury-free techniques is very important for the miners.
James Blamefull, miner in a small mine in Ghana, with his old and new work clothes (Photo: Solidaridad – Annemarieke van den Broek).
GOLDEN LINE IN GHANA AND TANZANIA
The new collaboration will be part of the Golden Line programme that Solidaridad, Simavi and Healthy Entrepreneurs are developing in Ghana and Tanzania. There they are working with mining communities, companies and governments on responsible gold mining and strengthening the position of female miners. It is estimated that half the miners in Ghana are women, while in Tanzania a quarter are women.
In addition to the dangers to which every miner is exposed, female miners often face discrimination and violence. Stephen Kithuka, programme manager of Solidaridad in East Africa, explains: “We also bring men together to talk about male-female relationships. In this way we put women’s rights on the map with the men and the leaders of the mining community.
GOLD FOR JEWELLERY AND AS AN INVESTMENT
Global demand for gold in 2018 was 4,400 tonnes, with a current value of around 176 billion euros (40,000 euros per kilo). The jewellery industry accounts for half of the global demand for gold, investors and financial institutions buy around 40% and around 10% go to technical applications such as dentistry and electronics.
GOLD MINING HARMFUL TO PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Two-thirds of the gold on the world market comes from mining, a third is mined by recycling of jewelry and electronics. Small-scale mining produces 20% of world production and that share is growing as large-scale mines are depleted. Both large-scale and small-scale mining cause problems for people and the environment. Mining is also the financier of conflict and war in some countries.
AunexumPrecious Metals Group trades in various precious metals products and services. The products include the precious metals gold, silver, platinum and palladium in the form of coins and ingots. Aunexum also has a separate branch that focuses on the recycling of precious metals. Finally, Aunexum provides various customised financial services such as financing, hedging and leasing.
Solidaridad believes that if we all show solidarity, no one will fall short. That is why Solidaridad takes action for a world in which everything is made and bought in solidarity with people, the environment and future generations. That is why we help miners, farmers, entrepreneurs and other ‘makers’ all over the world to gain more knowledge, rights, opportunities and connections.