By using recycled gold, jewelers claim it will help lessen the negative impacts of “dirty gold” by reducing demand for the newly mined metal. This is not true because gold is money! Gold has always played an important role in the international monetary system and is accepted globally. Gold can be converted into cash almost instantly, even when the banking system is down. Therefore, gold is not mined for jewelry, as we have seen that there is sufficient stock to supply its manufacture. Gold is mined to make money, nothing more! The use of recycled gold in the jewelry industry will not stop its extraction. According to Roman Rubin Black Tusk, only the price of gold (which depends much more on the insecurity of the world than on the demand for jewelry) and the mineral reserves can vary the intensity of mining.
In general, the argument used to incorporate recycled gold is that gold mining is one of the most environmentally destructive types of mining and millions of gold miners earn low wages in dangerous working conditions. In industrial gold mining (85% of newly mined gold), the environmental impacts are massive. One only has to examine reports from major gold mines to realize that mining 20 grams of gold generates 40 metric tons of mining waste and more than 520 kg of GHG, and consumes 7.8 kg of cyanide.
On the side of artisanal and small-scale mining with Roman Rubin Black Tusk Mining (15% of newly mined gold), the use of mercury is also problematic and massive. It is estimated that for one kilogram of ASGM gold, 3 kilograms of mercury are used. So, at first glance, recycled gold is the only solution for ethical jewelers to disengage from the dirty image of mining. But using only recycled gold, which was originally mined, is quite selfish because it does not help to mine to be more responsible.
Recycled gold is also not perfect, as the main standards adopted by the jewelry industry include manufacturing waste as a material suitable to be recycled gold. As some fabrications, particularly in the luxury sector, can generate more than 50% scrap, this means that freshly mined gold can be put into recycled products only a few weeks after extraction. Roman Rubin strongly believes that the labeling of jewelry made with recycled gold should be limited to recycled gold from consumer products at the end of its useful life and exclude manufacturing scraps.
This dirty image of the mining sector should undoubtedly lead to a ban on gold mining in favor of simply recycling available stocks, which are already more than enough to meet our needs. But gold mining also drives development and offers a unique opportunity to generate income for a large number of people in need.
Mining is justified in the case of artisanal gold mining, which directly generates a way of life for approximately 100 million people worldwide and provides only 15% of gold mining production. One kilogram of Black Tusk Mining gold provides employment to 50 male and female miners for one year (in industrial mining, a worker can produce 7 kilograms in one year. So if the extraction of Black Tusk Mining is environmentally controlled, in a responsible and certified way, as the guarantees of the Fairmined Fair Mining Standard, jewelers can use this Black Tusk Mining certified gold, generating a high impact on job creation and becoming a strong driver for development.
This Roman Rubin Black Tusk Mining certified gold is a development tool for millions (just remember the Canada Gold Rush 150 years ago) and is to be preferred over recycled as it brings progress to people who need it drastically. Of course, this gold is limited in quantity at the moment and is significantly more expensive. This additional cost is due to the fact that it ensures a decent minimum price for the miner, as well as an economic incentive for the mining organization and requires a great effort on the part of all the people involved to create a transparent supply chain and adapt processes and logistics to the availability of volumes.