Community stories


Divaney Viveros

One of the women ore selectors of the Asomuselupaz Association of the municipality of Suarez. Divaney always has a smile on her face. She loves her work and considers herself a fighter and capable; however, she warns that being a woman dedicated to mining brings her some disadvantages.

Aidalid Vergara

She is a 28-year-old woman leader of the Asociacion Agrominera Unida por Mindalá (AGROMIN) in Suárez, Cauca (Colombia). She works together with her group of 27 female associates panning gold from creek bed of streams around La Salvajina dam.

Nidia Pérez

Nidia Pérez is an associate partner and operations coordinator at Cooperativa Agrominera de Íquira in Huila, Colombia. We spoke with her about her history, life as a mining partner, and insights into artisanal and small-scale mining in Colombia and the region.

Yeferson Gaviria

Yeferson Gaviria, 25, is a miner who has worked in mining for 9 years now – both in illegal mines as well as legal ones. Learn about his history and his opinion on his work today in a formalized and responsible mine.

Dina Serna

As part of the RISE project, we have conducted surveys, in-depth interviews, and focus groups with 25 women miners in Colombia to understand their experiences with gender based violence and ecological destruction in the communities where they live. Dina Serna (31), a wife, mother of two sons and part time “barequera”, is one example and she shared her experiences with us.

Yurani Carabalí

Is 25 years old and she is mother to Karol, who smiles just as much as she does, and daughter to a woman with a calm, nostalgic gaze. Yurani works in artisanal mining “panning for gold on the shores of the lake or along the river”. This is what she lives with, together with coffee cultivation, two trades she started learning at 13.

Marieta Orduz

Marieta Orduz Chaparro, 53, is a traditional potter, with a big smile and always willing to help her community. She has been involved in pottery all her life: “this is an activity that we have inherited”. She sais that “we live with sand, with dirt, but happy”. 

Rolberto Álvarez

Rolberto Alvarez is a miner since he was a child and the current legal representative of the Asociación Agrominera de los Andes Fortaleza. He is part of a group of displaced people who decided to do responsible artisanal mining in Colombia.

Danilo Lopez – owner of a coal mining in Boyaca

Read the history of Danilo López, who has been mining for 34 years and is the current owner of the El Cristal coal mine in Boyacá. Daniel emphasized how much the project has helped in improving their security. He has received recurring assistance in the form of training, evaluations, and specialized advice on improving conditions in his mine, in addition to one-time support with setting up a Workplace Health and Safety Management System.

Pablo Gabriel Ortega

El Tigre resistance. This is the story of El Tigre village (El Bagre, Antioquia) and how their habitants make a living of gold and beans.

The women miners at Puerto Jobo

Women gold panners of Puerto Jobo (Zaragoza, Colombia) explain us how mining has changed within their villages throughout the years. Today, gold extraction and sales has become difficult for them which directly impacts their family incomes. For this reason, they are looking for alternative activities like pisciculture to be able to sustain their families.

Senides Lucumi, mineral selector

Meet Senides, and hear her story of what it’s like to work every day picking through the piles discarded outside the mines in hopes of finding an overlooked piece of gold. As the president of a women’s mining association, she also tells us about the challenges they face on a daily basis, such as the gender inequality and physical difficulty of their work, and reflects on the current situation and what the future holds for artisanal mining in her area (Suárez, Colombia).

Daniel Humberto Rodríguez

Daniel started working in mining when he was 10 years old. Now he is 34 and he has a long work and life experience that has given him many learnings. Daniel explains us his story, he reflects on what it meant for him to have to work as a child and on the conditions of mining in his municipality (Tópaga, Boyacá, Colombia).

Alonso Marín

Alonso Marín, 38, is the Production Manager of Sociedad Minera Las Aves S.A. in Segovia, Antioquia, Colombia. To him, the health and integrity of people prevails above all. He also has to fulfill the daily production goals of his mining organization.

Jose Ignacio Pérez

Video interview of the founder and miner of the Cooperativa Agrominera of Íquira, Huila, Colombia.

Rubiel Benavides

Rubiel Benavides has been a miner for 13 years. At first he worked Informally, but now, thanks to the efforts of his community, those of his coworkers and his own, formal mining has become possible for some, so that they can work towards responsible mining and, in the long run, achieve just mining.

Doris Cuatin

Doris is a member of the Cooperativa Coodmilla LTDA, mining cooperative at La Llanada (Nariño, Colombia) and has a seat in its board of directors. “People believe that this is an activity that can only be performed by men, but women can do it too.”

Luz Myriam Palacios

Luz Myriam, from Boyacá, Colombia, is a down-to-earth, empowered woman and a fighter. Her voice doesn’t shake when the time comes to assert her rights and those of her fellow women miners.

Luz adds, “Women united will surely not be defeated”.

Sandra y Libia

These two women, with their bare hands, have developed one of humanity’s oldest jobs – pottery. The two grew up surrounded by clay and mud. 

Every day of work is very different since it depends on what work needs to be done and which step of brick construction you are in.

Mercedes Arias 

56 year old Mercedes has dedicated her life to cultivating coffee and mining. Today she is a member of the Iquira Agrominera Multiactive Cooperative (certified with the Fairmined Standard since 2014) and has witnessed the positive impacts that small-scale mining has brought to the families in the Iquira municipality in the department of Huila, Colombia.

Lina Vergara

Lina Maria Vergara is 30 years old, she lives with her couple and they have 2 children. She is currently coursing eight and ninth grade. She works part time as a housewife and part time as a mining selector. She started working in artisanal mining at age 12, because her parents did that as well. She was raised in an artisanal mining environment and she is proud to say it.


Marina Isabel Pérez

Marina is a strong, inspiring woman. Seeing her work in the processing plant shows her passion for her job and what it represents for her: a way to make a living and strive for her husband and daughters. Currently, she knows how the machines in the plant work, as her duty consists of operating them every day.

José Marvin Regalado

Marvin, 37, has always been known to be a proactive, hard-working person. Marvin, from the La Playa community, Honduras, has worked in different lines of work in his lifetime. Now he is workin in Minas y Cuevas S.A. as a miner – a small-scale mining company.

Darwin Sevilla

Darwin Sevilla is an example of one child who learned about mining from his parents. Now, at the age of 34, he proudly and diligently continues the mining practice in the community of Sula, Santa Bárbara.

José Rubén

He started working in artisanal mining when he was 14 years old,  before Minas y Cuevas was as organized as it is nowFor him responsible mining is “using the safety equipment, taking care of the environment and of ourselves …”


Hugo Quispe

A slow and calm-spoken man, dedicated to mining for 23 years and a resident of the Peruvian Amazon. Today he is the owner of the Linda 2 mining concession, where approximately 10 miners work, and dreams of achieving certification with the Fairmined standard.

Teodora Palli Mamani

Teodora and her husband struggled to make a living for many years in the province of Azángaro, Peru, but due to bad weather conditions and a lack of sufficient income being generated from the harvest, they decided to migrate to La Rinconada in search of a golden dream.

Bruno Mara Flórez

Bruno, 50, is a husband, father of four children and the legal representative of the small-scale mining CENCOMIN. He is a man with a great smile and a hard worker.

Raúl Flores Mara

Raúl Flores Mara has managed to combine his passion for mining with his enjoyment of ranching, two activities that drive the local economy of Limata, the rural community where he lives in the district of Ananea, in southern Peru.

Ruth Jackeline Ramo Ramírez

David Quispe, current president of the Yani cooperative, relate his history as artisanal miner and tell us about successes and positive changes that occurred in the mining cooperative on the path to the Fairmined certification.

Kitzinger Quispe Ríos

Kitzinger is a biologist by profession and a heart miner. 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.

Nieves Villavicencio

Nieves Villavicencio has dedicated the last 17 years of her life to “pallaqueo” or mineral selection. She is part of the Association of Pallaquera Women Cuatro Horas, located in the same sector as MACDESA 


David Quispe

David Quispe, current president of the Yani cooperative, relate his history as artisanal miner and tell us about successes and positive changes that occurred in the mining cooperative on the path to the Fairmined certification.


Bayarmaa Dasndondog

When she lost her job at a timber company, Bayarmaa became a ninja, as the informal artisanal miners in Mongolia are called, because they carry green containers on their backs similar to the shells from the characters in the Ninja Turtles series.

Burkina Faso

Djeneba Sawadogo

Since Burkina Faso entered the circle of countries affected by terrorism in 2015, it was never again the same. Especially for Djeneba and her family whose days, previously occupied by household activities and livestock farming, would be replaced by fear and the crackling noise of bullets.

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