Industry heads to Africa for gold mine visit

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CMJ’s Willie Hamilton among guests on Fairtrade integration trip.

The Company of Master Jewellers’ chief executive Willie Hamilton will be visiting Tanzanian and Kenyan artisanal gold mines as part of a Fairtrade gold commercial integration trip from April 30.

The week-long trip will be hosted by Fairtrade International under the guidance of Fairtrade gold and precious metals programme coordinater Greg Valerio. Other participants on the trip include Alan Frampton of Cred jewellery, Reena Agarwal of the Fairtrade Foundation and American jeweller Marc Choyt of Reflective Images.

Hamilton explained: “The importance of provenance within the jewellery industry and providing strong leadership in ethical business practices has been something I have championed since entering the jewellery industry from my background with The Co-operative Group seven years ago.

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“I am keen to see for myself how Fairtrade is helping to improve social, economic and environmental standards in artisanal gold mining and I will be sharing my thoughts and experiences both with CMJ retail and supplier members as well as the wider jewellery industry on my return.”

The trip will include visits to Nyarugusu in Tanzania and Migori County in Kenya to witness the gold recovery activities of legalised artisanal mining organisations. Participants will get a first-hand look at the processes being used in the pits; from haulage and storage to drying, crushing, grinding and gold separation.

Miners will be given the opportunity to reveal their own experiences with Fairtrade gold in East Africa, funded by Comic Relief.

In addition, Hamilton will meet with miner leaders in Kenya and Tanzania to discuss routes to commercialisation and what is required by the international jewellery market.

Last month, Hamilton launched the Just Ask campaign at the CMJ Trade Event on March 16th, to help the jewellery industry track the provenance of its products.

Hamilton said: “This is my initiative: Just ask your supplier every time you look at or purchase an item "Do you now where this came from? And if they say that they don’t know, then at least you know that they don’t know. And it may well prompt them to ask further down the supply chain.”

 

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