The idea is to do for gold mining what the organic and fair trade movements are doing for food production.
“This is a sector that can transform itself,” says Lina Villa, who heads the Alliance for Responsible Mining in Medellín, Colombia. Her organization promotes techniques that cut back on mercury use, but don’t eliminate it altogether. Things like better storage and handling techniques can reduce accidents and toxic emissions, and miners who adopt them are eligible for a 10 percent bonus from Fairtrade and Fairmined.
“Miners are willing to change and to do things in a different way,” Villa says. “So once you have that evidence that change is possible, not embracing change doesn’t make sense.”
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