EXPLOITATION AND INJUSTICE

THE PROBLEM

Around the world, small-scale gold miners are often exploited. Some are forced to mine for criminal gangs or warlords. In large and small-scale gold mines in developing and emerging nations, bad working conditions cause life-threatening injuries and disease. Those who live near gold mining operations suffer from toxic spills. All these injustices are usually inflicted on disadvantaged people with little hope of redress from courts or governments. But that can change.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Support social justice researchers and advocates.

The Shadow of Gold interviewed researcher/activists who keep tabs on the gold industry’s mining practices and supply chain. Bonnie Gestring of Earthworks tracks toxic spills at major U.S. gold mines. Michael Gibbs of Global Witness researches how organized criminals and warlords smuggle gold. Carlos Monjes of Revenue Watch Institute studies the effects of the Peruvian gold rush on the nation’s environment and social fabric.

Aside from the research they do, Earthworks spearheaded the No Dirty Gold campaign that aims to inform consumers, jewellers and manufacturers about the impact of irresponsible mining practices and to enlist the public’s support to persuade the mining industry to clean up its act. The people at The Alliance for Responsible Mining are doing constructive work in helping the artisanal and small-scale mining sector (ASM) improve environmental, health and safety practices. 

While miners who suffer injustices often don’t have the resources or leverage to successfully negotiate or take legal action, some lawyers are willing to fight on their behalf. The Shadow of Gold interviewed two lawyers who have taken on big gold companies: UK human rights lawyer Shanta Martin, and Canadian class action lawyer Dimitri Lascaris.