MAC: Mines and Communities

Demands for rigorous due diligence from refineries when dealing with gold

Published by MAC on 2016-03-29
Source: Statement (2016-03-17)

The following is a press release concerning the opening of the Baselworld16 on 17 March. Society for Threatened Peoples Switzerland launched an action just in front of the exhibition halls: a golden girl – her upper part was all painted golden and the lower part of her body was fully covered with wounds and blood - stood in front of a big banner: “No dirty Gold – Buy responsibly”.

A photo of the action is here - https://telebasel.ch/2016/03/17/menschenrechtsorganisation-protestiert-an-der-baselworld/

Link to English summary of the report is here - Dealings in Illegal Gold: Swiss, US and Italian Refineries under Suspicion

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Baselworld: STP demands rigorous due diligence from refineries when dealing with gold

Society for Threatened Peoples Switzerland (STP) press release

17 March 2016

The world's largest watch and jewellery show, Baselworld, is opening its doors today. The Society for Threatened Peoples Switzerland (STP) is using this day as an opportunity to draw attention to the downsides of the world of gloss and glamour. In the report "Dealings in Illegal Gold: Swiss, US and Italian Refineries Under Suspicion/La responsabilidad de las refinerías en la extracción de oro ilegal del Perú", which has been published today, the STP shows that Swiss, US and Italian refineries have purchased (and thus also provided the watch and jewellery industry with) dubious and illegal gold. The STP calls on all gold refineries to check their supply chains rigorously, to guarantee end-to-end traceability of gold and to reveal the identities of gold producers. For all gold acquisitions, a solid due diligence process must be executed in order to prevent the acquisition of gold from production that is illegal, in violation of human rights or destructive to the environment in particular.

Today, the STP is approaching visitors and exhibitors at Baselworld with the demand "NO DIRTY GOLD! Buy responsibly!" and a body-painting campaign. Consumers have the right to know the origins of the raw material, from which their jewellery is made. The STP expects watch and jewellery companies to refrain in future from purchasing gold that is produced under conditions associated with human rights violations or environmental crimes, to actively support the demand for gold that is obtained fairly and to convey the origins of gold transparently.

The STP report ((Link auf englische Zusammenfassung)) published today reveals that large quantities of gold from Madre de Dios in Southeast Peru, produced in violation of human rights and sometimes under illegal conditions, have been purchased by Swiss, US and Italian refineries. These gold refineries therefore play a key role in deciding whether or not illegal or dirty gold finds buyers and reaches the global market. The Swiss refineries Metalor and Pamp, the US refineries Kaloti Metals & Logistics, NTR Metals, Republic Metals Corporation, Aram Asset Management and Atomic Gold, and the Italian company Italpreziosi are, or have been, key buyers of Peruvian gold from the aforementioned region.

For over two years, the Peruvian authorities have been investigating gold exporters who allegedly intended to export illegal gold. As a consequence of this, the public prosecutor in charge of money laundering submitted international requests for legal assistance to Switzerland and the USA at the start of 2015, so as to learn more about various refineries' dealings in gold. Christoph Wiedmer, Director of the STP, welcomes these requests: "This is an encouraging step in the right direction. Refineries that acquire gold from sources that are illegal, in violation of human rights or harmful to the environment should be investigated and held accountable."

Thus, the STP demands that all gold refineries put in place rigorous human rights due diligence processes for the acquisition of gold, ensure transparency and traceability of the gold supply chain, and make a clear commitment to handling only clean gold in future. This will then also enable producers of jewellery and watches to guarantee the use of clean gold.

Media information:

Christoph Wiedmer, Director of the STP, 079 679 01 24

Use of the provided images (mentioning gfbv.ch as the copyright holder) is permitted.

More information:

Link to the report in Spanish: La responsabilidad de las refinerías en la extracción de oro ilegal del
Perú. March 2016. http://assets.gfbv.ch/downloads/spanish_report_gold_march_2016.pdf

Link to English summary: Dealings in Illegal Gold: Swiss, US and Italian Refineries under Suspicion.
Summary, March 2016.
http://assets.gfbv.ch/downloads/summary_english_gold_report_march16.pdf

Link to open letter addressed to Metalor:
http://assets.gfbv.ch/downloads/brief_metalor_englisch_march16_pdf.pdf

Link to report "Dealings in Illegal Gold", October 2015.
http://assets.gfbv.ch/downloads/geschafte_mit_illegalem_gold_schweizer_raffinerie_metalor_unter_verdacht.pdf 

Images from the STP campaign at Baselworld to download:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/i8ux6r1s4e6iqc9/AADFlx-Lh5SnoAzO5jLHQ0tBa?dl=0 

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