Just a quick post to update everyone on progress here in Kenya and our destination Fairtrade Gold project.
Since the beginning of the year I have been working with Julius Opiyo and the Migori County Artisanal (MICA) miners COOP to begin the walk towards Fairtrade Fairmined certification.
MICA have mad excellent progress this year, having obtained their COOP status, export license and are now days away from being the first Kenyan artisanal gold miners COOP in the history of Kenya to export directly to the international market.
As I sit here in Kenya, we are awaiting confirmation of the money arriving in the MICA account, to release the first 24 Troy Ounces of gold. Needless to say the 25 members of the COOP are extremely happy as they recognise this is a significant step in their ‘liberation’ as local people from the hands of unscrupulous traders.
This first trade for them, means that they are putting the commercial systems in place to facilitate regular shipments of gold to international buyers, as well as cementing an important part of the Fairtrade requirements of having a traceability system in place that guarantees provenance over their gold.
There are huge issues in this region that includes, child labour, mercury usage, poor mine shafts that recently led to 6 deaths in the region, economic exploitation of small-scale miners and much more.
Yet the COOP here are making good progress to build a process that will lead to Fairtrade certification and broader positive community impact.
More to follow, but good news