According to United Nations reports, 1/5 of the world’s gold comes from primitive bush mines in Africa, South America and Asia, which are being mined by children as young as four years old. These impoverished children are lured by promises of $2/day wages, of which they typically only receive a fraction. The children are required to handle neurologically damaging mercury with their bare hands, and to move frequently from mine to mine, sometimes walking for more than a week at a time.
The UN labor agency estimates that there are now 100,000 to 250,000 child gold miners in West Africa alone. The Associated Press recently published a report on its yearlong investigation of child gold-mining laborers, during which journalists visited six of these bush mines in three West African countries and interviewed more than 150 child miners. They witnessed itinerant traders buying child-mined gold, then tracked the gold on its route to Mali’s capital city and then to Switzerland, where it enters the world market.
To read the full text of the Associated Press story, visit: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=5551166
At Brilliant Earth, we use recycled gold in our jewelry wherever possible, ensuring that no children were employed in its production, and preventing further damage to the environment. To read more about “dirty gold” and Brilliant Earth’s ongoing dedication to avoiding it, visit: http://www.brilliantearth.com/dispcont.aspx?pageid=ABOUT_GOLD#dirtygold