RJC sets landmark standard for small-scale mines

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The Responsible Mining Standard is part of RJC’s Chain of Custody.

The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has announced that part A of the Fairtrade and Fairmined Standard, the mining standard for the small-scale mining sector, is now officially recognised as a Responsible Mining Standard under the RJC’s Chain of Custody Standard for precious metals.

Both the Alliance for Responsible Mining and the Fairtrade Foundation, which together govern the Fairtrade and Fairmined Standard, have welcomed the recognition.

Provision 4.1c of the Chain of Custody Standard provides scope for the RJC to formally recognise comparable mining standards. A Recognised Responsible Mining Standard is a third party standard for responsible mining practices deemed by the RJC, through a process of formal review and opportunity for stakeholder comment, to be comparable to the RJC Code of Practices.

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The RJC provided a short Q&A document to help members of the industry understand the developments

1. What does the RJC Recognition of Part A of the Fairtrade and Fairmined Standards mean?
Part A of the Fairtrade and Fairmined Standard is being recognised by the RJC as a Responsible Mining Standard for artisanal producers. In practice this means that, under the RJC Chain of Custody Standard, gold produced by a Fairtrade and Fairmined Certified Mining Organisation is viewed as another type of Eligible Material for chain-of-custody sourcing.

Small volumes of this ASM produced gold, sourced and managed in accordance with the RJC CoC Standard, can thus be mixed with other types of Eligible Material, including recycled gold. The processes for sourcing and segregation are governed and audited under the RJC Chain-of-Custody Certification process. However claims around the Fairtrade and Fairmined certification status of metals cannot be made unless Part B of the Fairtrade and Fairmined Standard, which includes payment of the Fairtrade minimum price and premium and governs trading conditions, has been met.
 

2. Will the RJC Recognition mean mass balancing of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold?
No, not under the RJC Chain-of-Custody Standard which does not permit mass balancing and Fairtrade International and the Alliance for Responsible Mining do not permit use of the dual label without registration in their system. Under the RJC Chain-of-Custody (CoC) Standard, gold from certified ASM producers can be mixed with other eligible sources, such as from RJC Certified mining companies or eligible recycled sources. However RJC CoC Certified entities will not be able to make claims to their customers about the ASM producer´s certification under Fairtrade and Fairmined.
 

3. What if I’m a Fairtrade and Fairmined Certified Producer?
If you are a Fairtrade and Fairmined certified miner, recognition by the RJC will mean that your gold may be able to reach new and diversified markets. The recognition is likely to encourage interested.
 

In March 2012 the RJC launched its Chain-of-Custody (CoC) Standard and supporting documents for the precious metals supply chain. The CoC Standard is applicable to gold and platinum group metals (platinum, palladium and rhodium).

The CoC Standard aims to support the identification of responsibly-sourced jewellery materials produced, processed and traded through the jewellery supply chain. RJC defines responsibly-sourced as:

– conflict-free as a minimum, and
– responsibly produced – human rights, labour standards, environmental impact, and business ethics (as articulated in the RJC Code of Practices, applicable to the jewellery supply chain from mine to retail).
 

 

 

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