Why A Campaign Focused on Gold?
A wedding band, or some other piece of gold jewelry-for many people, these things are almost too valuable to put a price on. Perhaps you own such a ring yourself. But while the ring as a symbol may indeed be priceless, the gold certainly is not. Gold comes with a price-a heavy one. Gold is costing the planet and its peoples far more than the metal itself is worth.
Campesinos living near the Yanacocha mine in Peru report health problems resulting from a mercury spill. Credit: Payal Sampat/Earthworks
The production of one gold ring generates 20 tons of wastes.
Gold mining is without doubt one of the world's dirtiest industries: it uses cyanide, generates heaps of wastes, and leaves a long-lasting scar on landscapes and communities.
More than half of all gold comes from indigenous peoples' lands.
In places as diverse as Ghana, Indonesia, the United States, and Peru, gold mining operations have displaced people from their homelands against their will, destroyed traditional livelihoods, and damaged ecosystems. Indigenous people in particular disproportionately suffer the negative effects of gold mining, adding to the injustices they already endure.
Daniel Paras and his family were forcibly evicted from their home in 1991 by the Indonesian Mobile Police Brigade to make way for Rio Tinto's Kelian gold mine. Credit: Jeff Atkinson/Oxfam CAA
The No Dirty Gold campaign supports the rights of communities to determine their own futures - not to have it decided for them by corporations.
80 percent of all gold is used to make jewelry.
Gold is certainly unique in terms of history and cultural status, but in many ways, its extraction is emblematic of the mining industry as a whole. The yellow metal literally drives the mining industry-the quest for new, untapped lodes of gold accounts for more than half of the investment in metals exploration. And as gold prices have climbed in recent months, so has the number of new mining claims-thousands of new claims were made in the United States alone in 2003. By taking action on gold, you can help bring about change in the mining industry as a whole.