Kitzinger Quispe Ríos,
The path towars Fairmined Gold.
Kitzinger Quispe Ríos is a biologist by trade and a miner at heart. He is very proud to be part of CECOMIP because he has been part of the cooperative since it started and has witnessed its improvement and process to this day.
How he got into mining
Kitzinger became a partner of La Central de Cooperativas Minero Metalúrgicas de Puno (CECOMIP) since its foundation in 2006. “At first I only attended meetings and helped with sometasks, but I did not work”, he explains. Since he was studying biology and then a master’s degree, he did not have the time to take on a more active role within the artisanal and small-scale mining organization (ASMO). In 2104, when he finished his studies, he started working for CECOMIP in the environmental field, until he was elected Supervisory President in 2017, role he still occupies.
Creation of the cooperatives in Ananea, Peru
Formerly, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) was not known in Peru. “It was around 2003 that La Rinconada was invaded by miners who wanted to work informally. The community of Ananea got together to remove the miners and evacuate the area. That is how the mining cooperatives are formed.”
His parents had worked in big-scale mining, but due to the creation of cooperatives, they decided to become members of CECOMIP thanks to a financial contribution they made for “travelling, grants and auctions”. At first, when CECOMIP was created, the production was not high enough or generate revenue. “When CECOMIP was created, we were only using our own money with no guarantees. However, around 2006 we started seeing some money”. Since Kitzinger was studying at the time, he only helped with a monthly fee, and his parents worked for him.
CECOMIP’s conditions improved gradually and in 2014, when Kitzinger finished his studies, he started working in the cooperative and receiving a formal salary.
His role at CECOMIP
As Supervisory President his main function is to inspect and review all aspects of the ASMO. His days are very different. Some days he goes to the mine early in the morning, at four or five o’clock, other days he goes with the employees, according to what needs to be done that day. First he goes “to have breakfast, and at 8 a.m. the operations start. If there are no problems, he walks around the mine to see the shafts, check that the water pumps are in place and that the staff is complete. After that, at around 10 or 11, we meet with the supervisors and managers or with the engineers. So the morning is already gone. At midday he goes to have lunch and in the afternoon he reviews the export documentation and other paperwork.”
Fairmined, gold to be proud of
Kitzinger explained that they were told “that this certification would allow us to export and that for the simple achievement of having fair gold we would receive a Premium”.
“So we started working on traceability in order to get the certification. Moreover, the Premium could be used to improve our cooperative and community. Our main objective has always been that of buying the plant”, said Kitzinger.
The path towards CECOMIP’s formalization was not easy, but thanks to the ambitions and the will to improve the working conditions of the employees, they obtained the Fairmined Certification in August 2016.
Since then they renewed the certification twice. This year they will receive an audit to renew the certification, but Kitzinger explains how one of the biggest challenges is to “eliminate mercury. We are worried about finding a way to extract gold without using mercury. We would like to find a process in the future to obtain ecological gold, without the use of mercury”.