CMJ chief Willie Hamilton to visit Africa Fairtrade Gold mines
April 19, 2014 – Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) chief executive Willie Hamilton will be flying out to Africa at the end of this month as part of a Fairtrade Gold Commercial Integration Trip to visit artisanal gold mines in Tanzania and Kenya.
The week-long trip, from April 30th, is being hosted by Fairtrade International under the guidance of Fairtrade Gold and Precious Metals Programme Coordinator Greg Valerio. Other participants on the trip include Alan Frampton of Cred jewellery, Reena Agarwal of the Fairtrade Foundation and American jeweller Marc Choyt of Reflective Images.
“The importance of provenance within the jewellery industry and providing strong leadership in ethical business practices has been something I have championed since entering the jewellery industry from my background with The Co-operative Group seven years ago,” said Hamilton.
“I am keen to see for myself how Fairtrade is helping to improve social, economic and environmental standards in artisanal gold mining and I will be sharing my thoughts and experiences both with CMJ retail and supplier members as well as the wider jewellery industry on my return.”
The trip will include visits to Nyarugusu in Tanzania and Migori County in Kenya to witness gold recovery activities of formalised and legalised artisanal mining organisations, including processes from pits where gold containing rocks are extracted through haulage, storage, drying, crushing, grinding and gold separation.
Participants will meet the miners and hear about their experiences under the Fairtrade Gold in East Africa programme funded by Comic Relief and be able to compare this with miners who are not formalised and not legal outside the Fairtrade project.
Hamilton will meet with miner leaders in Kenya and Tanzania to discuss routes to commercialisation; what is required by the international jewellery market; business management expectations and international supply chain development.
Last month, Hamilton launched the Just Ask campaign at the CMJ Trade Event on March 16th, to help the jewellery industry track the provenance of its products.
Hamilton said: “This is my initiative: Just ask your supplier every time you look at or purchase an item. Do you now where this came from? And if they say that they don’t know, then at least you know that they don’t know. And it may well prompt them to ask further down the supply chain.
“I’ve asked CMJ retailers and CMJ suppliers to do the same with their suppliers and perhaps this just might be the start of bringing more clarity to our industry before our customers and future customers start to ask.”
Hamilton will be asking CMJ retailers and suppliers to feed back the answers they receive from their suppliers further down the supply chain to the CMJ so that regular updates can be made on the subject of jewellery product provenance through the organisation to its members and the wider industry.