Samantha chooses the projects she sources her gold from with great care to ensure that they are traceable and sustainable. She uses eco metals (which use no toxic chemicals such as cyanide and mercury during the mining process) where possible.
Every grain is certified as either Fairmined or Fairtrade gold or from a project that is working towards certification. This ensures that the gold is completely traceable to source and it comes from a project which has responsible environmetal and safety practises. It also means that the miners are paid a fair wage.
Every piece of September Rose Fine Jewellery has the history of it's raw materials documented from ground (or sea!) to jewellery box. You can find all the details about your piece in the story book inside your jewellery box or on our website.
To find our more about each of the projects we currently source from, please continue reading below. If you have any questions about our sources, please don't hesitate to contact Samantha.
COODMILLA : COLOMBIA
+ LOCATION AND HISTORY
COODMILLA Ltd is based in the Municipality of La Llanada, in the department of Nariño, Colombia. La Llanada is a heavily forested, mountainous region that lies between the Amazon Basin and the Chocó biogeographic region.
In 1977 after an American company closed down their mining operations, its former workers acquired the mining titles and began COOMILLA. The Cooperative is comprised of 167 associates, of which 5 are women.
+ ABOUT THE MINE
COODMILLA operates a series of hard rock mines which are navigated by tunnels and caverns built into the mountainsides. To process their ore, they use gravimetric methods without the use of cyanide or mercury. They produce around 5kg of 22 carat gold each month. The cooperative works hard to continuously improve their mining activities, and they are striving to be responsible mining leaders in all of Nariño.
+ COODMILLA AND FAIRMINED
COODMILLA began working with ARM in 2011. They have come a long way on their journey towards FAIRMINED certification and have gone above and beyond to create safe work environments and build a culture of collaboration within the mining cooperative and the surrounding communities. They are dedicated to peace building in the area, and are very influential in their regional efforts to preserve the natural environment and precious water resources in the area. Although the cooperative still has several challenges to face before they can reach certification, they are purposefully and strategically transforming their activities to meet the FAIRMINED Standard with the help of funding from Chopard.
AURELSA : PERU
+ LOCATION AND HISTORY
Aurelsa is located in the village of Relave, district of Pullo, province of Parinacochas, department of Ayacucho, Peru. In the mid-1980s Peru was troubled with economic hardship, internal violence and conflict. As a result, many Peruvian families and individuals were driven from their homes and into the Peruvian Atacama desert where they came together seeking refuge and the opportunity to establish a new life. In Relave, these citizens eventually settled as informal, artisanal and small-scale miners working the tailings left by previous large-scale international mining operations.
In the Peruvian desert where resources are scarce, mining became the primary livelihood for Relave. In 1986, the town formed the Association of Artisanal Miners of Relave, and began to establish their village. In 1993 the government officially recognized the community as a settlement annex, landmarking the beginning of Relave as a formal community and allowing them access to government assistance to improve their mining practices by engaging with the Ministry of Mines. Government recognition and support not only supported Relave’s economic welfare, but also allowed the town to lay the foundations for investment in its citizens by allowing them to build a school and offer other public services.
Aurelsa S.A. was founded on July 26, 1997 after the community was advised to form a company to facilitate access to mining titles. The whole community was invited to form the company, which resulted in 86 individuals investing their time and money to begin Aurelsa. Of the founding individuals, there were 78 men and eight women who collectively held mineral rights to over 1,000 hectares in the area.
+ ABOUT THE MINE
Since its founding, community development has progressed steadily in Relave, and in 2002, Relave democratically elected its first mayor. He is a noteworthy leader, tireless engaging communities and government in the entire area of Pullo, where is a strong advocacy figure for ASM rights and formalization in the region. The community continues to wisely invest in long term development projects, and as a result Relave has established 3 schools for the town’s more than 650 students! It also boasts a health center, a subsidized community grocery store and big plans for future town development.
One of Aurelsa’s greatest infrastructural achievements was the construction of an industrial park outside of the town centre, which transferred all mining activities away from the community, reducing health and safety issues. Children are not permitted to enter the industrial park, and after all the mining operations were removed from the town, they are planning to utilize those spaces for investment in more education and health facilities.
Relave is an inspiring community, triumphing difficult circumstances through the years. To commemorate their successes, each year in June, Aurelsa sponsors a community event where the whole town of Relave celebrates its history and future with food, festivities, games and entertainment!
Women of Aurelsa: María Rosa Reyes Pajuelo
One of the most outstanding leaders in Aurelsa, María was elected as the most recent Managing Director, moving up from her previous position as the Administrative Director. She is not only indispensable to the company, but also to the community: she has participates in the workshops provided by ARM and is a trusted colleague.
The population of Relave is about 4,000 people, the majority of which are supported by mining activities, auxiliary services and the Fairmined premiums that Aurelsa receives. Within the company, there are 86 shareholders, 9 of which are women. Of the 45 contracted employees within the company, 8 are women. Compared to typical industry gender practices, Aurelsa has always been a leader in equal opportunities in the mining sector. Although Aurelsa has made significant improvements concerning gender equality, they have a long journey ahead of them to embed women’s rights and gender equality in their business model and operations, as well as in the community of Relave.
Aurelsa’s Mining Practices
From the very beginning of their journey to formalize their efforts, Aurelsa has been affiliated with the Regional Association of Artisan Mining Producers of Middle South (AMASUC) and to SONAMIPE (National Association of Artisanal Miners of Peru). As active members of these two important organizations, Aurelsa was able to build a network of regional support to bolster their partnership with ARM. Aurelsa began working with ARM in 2008, and achieved FAIRMINED certification in May 2012.
Aurelsa has worked for several decades to achieve all of the required permits and licenses to operate mines, their processing plant and to utilize explosives. Furthermore, during the process of formalization Aurelsa systematized their labor policies: all workers receive all necessary safety equipment from the company and are covered with comprehensive health insurance and benefits.
Aurelsa holds general assemblies once a month to ensure inclusive growth within the company. They have also established a strong internal control system, in which they manage their own accounting and financial systems, allowing them to make informed and precise business decisions. They continually go beyond their minimum requirements for Fairmined certifications and offer their expertise and knowledge to other mining communities in the area, which has transformed the company into one of the area’s regional business leaders. They hold workshops and training seminars for other regional ASMOs, teaching them how to manage financial records, integrate into formal financial markets and access a variety of banking resources.
+ AURELSA AND FAIRMINED
Aurelsa began working with ARM in 2008, and became certified in the FAIRMINED system in May 2012. Entering the FAIRMINED system was an essential step for Aurelsa to expand their efforts and get their gold and silver to international markets. The premiums that Aurelsa has received have had a significant, positive impact on their community along with the help of Peru´s regional support organization, Red Social. As part of their requirements to be certified in the Fairmined system Aurelsa designed an ambitious long-term development plan for their company operations and the sustainable development of Relave.
One of Aurelsa’s major investments from the FAIRMINED premiums was the construction and maintenance of local jewellery shops, where local women also find opportunities for work outside of the mines. Daily, many of the women of Relave have to maintain a multitude of responsibilities which can include managing their households, taking care of their children and also generating income. The jewellery shops provide ideal jobs for many of the women who are not able to work in the mines due to physical conditions or family constraints. However, creating jewellery in the workshops allows the women flexible schedules, giving them the opportunity to work a respectable and creative job with rewarding results.
Aurelsa is dedicated to the most efficient practices, and plans to use their FAIRMINED premiums in the future to invest in an agitation and desorption plant which will streamline their production processes. As a company, Aurelsa strives to operate with the safest, most reliable practices to ensure a safe environment, economic security and future for its citizens. They are also planning several community development projects which will invest in local infrastructure, improved health care facilities, the current schools and eventually diversified education facilities.
SOTRAMI : PERU
+ LOCATION AND HISTORY
SOTRAMI (Sociedad de Trabajadores Mineros S.A.) operates in the town of Santa Filomena, district of Lucanas, province of Ayacucho, Peru. SOTRAMI was formed by over 100 informal miners, as one of the first ASM mining cooperatives in the country during the 1970s when Peru was in the midst of nationalizing all mining activities. After laboring for almost a decade after their establishment, SOTRAMI was officially registered as an ASM company.
Santa Filomena is located 200 meters above sea level, high in the mountains of the Atacama Desert. The natural conditions can be antagonistic in Santa Filomena: high winds, lack of water and other resources make this area a challenging place to call home. The community was founded by agricultural migrant workers, who quickly realized that their previous agrarian way of life wasn´t possible in San Filomena. Thus, the community turned to ASM, the economic imperative that would lead them to be the most prosperous ASM community in the area.
+ ABOUT THE MINE
SOTRAMI is the economic axis of Santa Filomena: it supports around 1500 families directly and indirectly. These families are miners, processors, traders, administrative support, community planners and more. Although the environmental conditions in San Filomena are challenging, the community has built up excellent community organization and a strong livelihood.
Many other mining communities struggle with creating a safe environment for women and children, who are often marginalized and excluded from profitable economic activities, leading to issues such as child labor, prostitution or other problems that arise from environments which are male-dominated and further feed into the cycle of poverty. However, SOTRAMI has gone the extra mile to make sure that women and children are safe, secure and have equal opportunities. The community manages a set of rules for the community to ensure that San Filomena doesn’t fall victim to the insecurity that threatens community wellbeing in other mining communities.
The women of Sotrami
In Santa Filomena, the women miners who work sorting minerals are called “pallaqueras”. They carefully sort through the mineral tailings and waste, collecting all of the valuable pieces and selling them to SOTRAMI. In 2003, the pallaqueras founded the “New Hope” (Nueva Esperanza) Women’s Association, which is a member of the National Association of Artisanal Mining Women in Peru. They comply with all Peruvian occupational safety regulations and beyond: the women wear extra layers of protective clothing, always working in groups, women under 18 are prohibited to labour in the tailings and having regular meetings to address the concerns of their employees and their families. The Association also allows elderly men and women to collect with them, and offers employment opportunities in their childcare facility. The association has served to empower the women of the community to create their own livelihoods, and they are currently divising new plans to diversify their economic activities through sewing, cooking and other skills.
“We´ve finally found a place to work without contaminating the environment; they offer us work in the mine and never discriminate against us.” ~ Lucia Champi, Pallaquera
The Association is comprised of 60 hard-working women who are highly respected and support around 180 families in the community. One of the major achievements of the Association was to provide flexibility to all of its workers, which offers significantly more profitable work to women who often have the responsibly of a family, household and also generating income. The have highly organized
- Ensures that every child goes to school and they are committed to education.
- They have established supply chains, providing the community with economic security and great ability for future planning.
- They subsidise health care and eye tests for their community members.
- There is subsidised food shop, improving the community food security.
+ SOTRAMI AND FAIRMINED
SOTRAMI achieved Fairmined certification in May, 2011. However, before their certification, they were pioneering the formalization of the ASM practices and organizations. Since the 1980s, they have been working with many local and regional organizations to improve their activities. SOTRAMI is proof that ASM, when organized and formalized and be a dignified economic activity and generate positive social development. In 2011 SOTRAMI began exporting their gold internationally and have now established a firm international supply chain. Their commitment to responsible practices is obvious through the accomplishments, and their town is dotted with slogans and signs to encourage the community. They rally around positivity with their primary message: “mining with a human face”.
SOTRAMI has invested their premium returns in bettering the ir practises as well as strengthening town infrastructure, sanitation, strengthening their energy grid and building a primary and secondary school. Furthermore, they finance eye and medical exams for community members and built a subsidized grocery store to provide greater food security. With the help of some of their international buyers, they are also creating community garden strategies.