Accepted paper:

Moving Ideals: the international reach of responsible mining and ethical sourcing principles in the early twenty-first century.

Authors:

Peter Oakley (Royal College of Art)

Paper short abstract:

An examination of recent responsible ASM gold mining and ethical gold sourcing programmes and the extent to which these demonstrate the global mobility of responsible and ethical ASM mining ideals.

Paper long abstract:

The first decade of the twenty-first century saw the emergence of two compatible initiatives in different continents: responsible artisanal and small-scale gold mining in South America and the ethical sourcing of gold in Europe. Due to the efforts of leading ethical activists, by the end of the decade these two initiatives had linked up, eventually resulting in the international Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold certification programme. Despite initial hopes that this ambitious scheme would capture a significant percentage of the retail gold jewellery market in the target countries and eventually assist subsistence gold miners across the developing world, within four years the partnership had collapsed. The two resulting (and now competing) programmes then both attempted to expand internationally into Africa and Asia, with mixed results. This paper will present the key events in this history, referring to the author's ethnographic research over the past decade amongst responsible mining campaigners and ethical gold activists, including engagement with representatives from both initiatives and leaders from the mining communities involved. It will then consider how this material illustrates the extent of, drivers behind, and limitations to the global mobility of responsible and ethical artisanal and small-scale gold mining ideals.

panel P024
Mining mobility: the movement of people and expertise in the context of extractive projects [Anthropology of Mining Network]