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Selling gold, buying old or second-hand jewellery: eco-responsible actions

Buying a new piece of jewelry feeds a production chain that involves the extraction of rare raw materials, their transport and distribution.

According to a serious study conducted by Carbon 4, the carbon (CO2) impact of gold production is 200 times greater than that of gold recycling. Gold for recycling is available in large quantities and "sleeps" within reach.

The grandmother's bracelet that Mom never put on and that has been in a drawer for 40 years is more than ready for a new life... Selling it is beneficial not only for the wallet but also for the environment... Although it must be recognized that great efforts are being made to reduce as much as possible the impact of gold mining, among other things, on the environment, the consequences are measurable and visible...

To become well aware of the effects of the jewelry industry on the environment, here are some examples and statistics.

The extraction of gold 

Even before exploitation begins, land exploration and testing are themselves already producing CO2...

Then, according to the Blacksmith Institute (a New York organization specializing in decontamination projects in developing countries), pollution of all types is responsible for 25 to 40% of deaths in developing countries.

 

The mercury

According to the institute, gold mining is the world's largest source of pollution, poisoning 10 to 15 million people every year.

The main culprit is mercury, which is used to amalgamate gold, and it is estimated that nearly 1000 tonnes of mercury per year are used to extract gold, 95% of which is dumped into the environment. The figure is terrible: for every gram of gold from a small-scale mine, 2 grams of mercury are released into the environment.

Pollution of well water is a major challenge, including mercury from artisanal mines.

The cyanide

The risk of cyanide spilling into the environment is high and, in order to operate a gold mine, cyanide must be used in line with technological advances.

This chemical component is so toxic that MEPs unsuccessfully asked the European Commission, through two resolutions passed in May 2010 and April 2017, to ban cyanide in the mining industry of the Member States, mainly at the stage of transporting, storing and recycling cyanide.

 

Deforestation

Gold mining projects are a source of deforestation.

In 2015, researchers at the University of Puerto Rico warned of the link between accelerated deforestation of South America's rainforests and gold mining. 1,680 km2 of tropical forests were cleared in South America between 2001 and 2013 to allow gold mining.

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