Honduras: Land of Shining Gold is the Project developed in this Central American country since January 2021, aiming to strengthen labor conditions and life quality of artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM), encouraging responsible gold production, promoting responsible minerals trading from ASM and training the different actors of the supply chain and the Honduras government on the implementation of the European Union Conflict Minerals Regulation.
The project is a pilot of the new Sustainable Mines Program from the Alliance for Responsible Mining, which offers ASM miners a progressive path to improve practices and access to formal markets, based on CRAFT and Fairmined Standards, and promoting alliances of multiple stakeholders such as mining organizations, gold industry, governments, organizations of cooperation for development, among others.
This Project is funded by the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM), and thanks to the joint effort of Alliance for Responsible Mining with German-Honduran Business Center (Centro de Negocios Hondureño-Alemán), the mining organization Minas y Cuevas, Samlerhuset Group, Heimerle + Meule Group, and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).
Expansion of CRAFT and Fairmined initiative
By the end of the project (December, 2022), the Honduran Organization Minas y Cuevas, located in the municipality of Macuelizo (Departament of Santa Barbara), is expected to achieve the Fairmined Standard Certification, which will enable them to export their gold at a fair price, obtain an economic incentive and become a reference of responsible mining in Central America. Additionally, the initiative will be expanded to a new mining organization (in process of selection) to support its legalization and formalization, through the CRAFT Standard (Code of Risk-mitigation for Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Engaging in Formal Trade), granting access to the international formal market.
Visits to the territory and project progress
Since the Project started, the work team has investigated the territories with mining potential (Olancho, Paraíso, Choluteca y Santa Bárbara) and has identified several mining communities, aiming to analyze the techniques they are using and their legal and organizational situations, as well as their interest, in order to select one to receive accompaniment from the project.
The ASM sector in Honduras is almost entirely informal, so it requires the commitment of the mining authorities to support the legalization process of the future mining organization. For this reason, we are working in collaboration with the Inhgeomin and the Planet Gold project, to promote the legalization and formalization of the pre-selected mining communities.
In parallel, Minas y Cuevas received an emergency fund to reactivate its operations after the two hurricanes at the end of 2020 that damaged the electrical system of the processing plant. The sustainability plan of the mining organization was also updated, and the team is accompanying them to reduce the identified gaps, increase their production capacity and develop their business model for the upcoming years.
On the other hand, last May 5th, Mining Organization Minas y Cuevas was visited by the German Embassy Cooperation Chief, Thomas Cieslik, who visited their facilities, extraction and processing sites, and arranged promotion agreements of the project with other international entities to support the path towards a responsible mining.