GUERNSEY ASSISTING ARTISANAL GOLD MINERS IN UGANDA
I am writing to give you some initial feedback regarding the recent installation of the Gold Katcha (centrifuge machine) and two Masta machines in the Busia district of Uganda. These machines were purchased using money donated by the Guernsey Fairtrade group, Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission, Ray & Scott, KPMG and private individual donors, and were installed on the 11th April 2016.
I am still awaiting some final technical details before I can write you a full report, but I thought you would like to see a short video that Greg Valerio made whilst he was out there, by way of an initial piece of feedback.
Ecological Fairtrade Gold – Another Step Forward
I met with Greg earlier this week to hear from him regarding the installation of the equipment, and I am delighted to report that the benefits that the equipment will bring to the community are very impressive. Greg outlines them in the video, but just to summarise:
Time taken to extract the gold = 1 hour with the equipment, 1 day without the equipment – so a massive saving in time.
This saved time result in
* the miners can have more time spent working the mines resulting in more output from which to extract gold, leading to increased income
* Children are no longer required to work the mines, or do the panning, and so child labour can be eliminated
* Children can therefore go to school and get an education
* The women, who did all the panning, no longer need to do this back-breaking work, and have more time for carrying out their other household chores
There are also benefits regarding environmental sustainability and reduced environmental degradation
Also, because the equipment is located within the community rather than just as a possession for one miner or mining cooperative, it is encouraging joint working, cooperation between community groups, and leading to aggregate volumes that will allow the groups to sell on the world Fairtrade gold market.
The next phase of this project is to install the final pieces of equipment that can achieve totally mercury-free extraction of gold. At present, there is still use of some mercury in the process, and it is only the installation of the full suite of equipment that will eliminate the mercury all together.
We are in need of further funding to achieve this next phase, and when I have the costings for those pieces of equipment I will draw up a proposal to present to you.
Greg and I were also discussing the possibility of taking this process out to a wider range of interested groups in a number of countries, and again that is something I would like to discuss with you to see if you would be interested in partnering with us.
But for now, I trust that you enjoy the video, and I will be in touch shortly with a more comprehensive report.
28 April 2016