In 2004, the Alliance for Responsible Mining was launched by a network of independent organizations with the aim of promoting responsible standards and criteria for artisanal and small-scale mining. It was launched in Quito, Ecuador, at the headquarters of Rainforest Rescue International (FURARE) by an international group of community-based mining organizations, environmentalists, business people and certification specialists from Colombia, Ecuador, the United States, the Philippines, Holland, Mongolia, Peru, Sri Lanka, and the United Kingdom. Shortly after the office was set up in Envigado, Colombia where we continue to have our headquarters.
We began our work with various organizations from different countries, drawing inspiration from the promising results achieved by the Oro Verde initiative in Colombia, a local strategy for conservation of the biodiversity of the Chocó Department of Colombia.
In 2006 our first standard, Standard Zero, was developed and in the years that followed the standard was updated following consultation and workshops with the miners‘ organizations and a broad number of other stakeholders in Latin America.
In 2009, we entered into a partnership with Fairtrade International (FLO) to create the Fairtrade & Fairmined standard, based on Standard Zero. In 2010 the first version of the standard was created.
On February 14th 2011, the first Fairtrade & Fairmined gold ever produced by artisanal and small-scale miners was introduced on the market in the UK and Canada. This was an achievement of historical importance in the global effort to transform artisanal and small-scale gold mining into a dignified and responsible activity.
The partnership with Fairtrade brought both great success and some important lessons. The speed of change happening in the ethical gold market, led us to believe that greater opportunities for miners could be achieved by working independently and the organizations therefore decided not to renew the partnership on Fairtrade & Fairmined Gold in 2013.
We continue to work independently with Fairmined Certification, and has developed a market model that is open to all players wishing to make a positive impact on responsible mining.
In 2014 and 2015 Fairmined gold sales of 230 kilos generated USD 895.614 in Premium to the Fairmined certified mining organizations - higher sales and premium than any other certification scheme for artisanal and small-scale mining.
We are still expanding our network and have both projects and important new agreements in Africa and Asia to make even more miners benefit from better conditions and access to fair markets.