Artisanal mining in Chocó, Colombia is an ancestral way of life for the local population. Historically, this activity has been marginalized and often the miners have not had access to effective tools and resources to formalize and improve their working conditions, finding barriers that prevent them from complying with market requirements. .
As a result, mining companies tend to work in difficult conditions, exposing themselves to risks. In this context, women especially experience situations of great vulnerability.
Responding to this issue, the Raíces Doradas project, was funded by the European Alliance for Responsible Minerals (EPRM). It was implemented by C.I. Anexpo S.A.S., the Alliance for Responsible Mining, and the Atabaque Foundation (entities with extensive experience in the sector).
The project seeks to empower women miners, increase their participation in territorial governance spaces as well as peace building in the municipalities of Quibdó, Istmina, and Condoto. This was accomplished through close work with artisanal miners to dignify their livelihoods, promote better environmental and labor practices, facilitate their access to formal markets and increase the volume of gold being traded. In addition through transparent supply chains that meet national and international standards and requirements these goals are being accomplished.
Raíces Doradas became active in the territories in November 2019 and throughout two weeks, its objectives and schedule were presented to different actors, including municipal authorities, community councils, organizations of character social and local entities that address issues related to gender and the environment. Likewise, a workshop was held in the city of Quibdó that had the participation of 30 people, in which some notions about due diligence were offered.
The implementing entities will continue to develop the Raíces Doradas Project until 2021, hoping to benefit the artisanal mining community, contribute to local development and boost the participation of women miners in building peace and governance.
During the first half of 2020, the plan is to design and pilot a seamless due diligence tool in the field, to identify, prevent and mitigate the negative impacts of mining activity, based on the integration of the criteria of international initiatives such as: Responsible Gold (BGI), the CRAFT Code, the Fairmined standard, the OECD due diligence guide–all added to the annexation marketing model.
The tool will be implemented with groups of miners committed to responsible mining in the department, to improve and strengthen their practices and facilitate access to formal markets.