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from peru

Gold has always been at the heart of human being's fantasies, and the myth of the gold digger is still relevant, especially among the most disadvantaged. 20% of the world's gold, i.e. 600 tons per year, is produced in an artisanal way, often illegally, and supports or rather help to survive 100 million people while polluting the environment with mercury.

Today, as with diamonds, there is an awareness in the world of luxury and famous brands favor traceable or recycled gold for jewelry making. How then to dispose of artisanal gold? Either by recycling it, or rather by "laundering" it, a specialty of Dubai, or by working with these miners by creating a supply chain for raw ore.

The concept was developed in Peru at Chala in partnership with a Swiss company (PX Group) and Canada (Dynacor) to extract gold industrially without mercury. A double advantage for miners: the plant extracts more gold from their ore (95% vs 40-50% if the miners were doing it themselves with mercury) and as a result the miners are better paid, and they no longer put their health at risk with the mercury. They work with 800 ore producers, all registered and recognized by the Peruvian government, and also donate a premium of $500 per kg (i.e. 0.8% of the price) to mining communities for common projects (nurseries, schools, green spaces...and soon reforestation projects, family planning...).

This initiative around artisanal gold is still marginal and it raises questions about the market, intermediaries, jewelers, but also about States when they organize world events such as the Olympic Games.
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Franck Vogel on assignment in Peru.

Franck weighs a 25kg gold bar, worth $1.6 million, during his assignment. Veta Dorada, Chala, Peru.

GEO France - Gold from Peru

Publication by GEO France (Nov 23).

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