Ever wondered about the environmental impact of gold mining?

August 06, 2020 2 min read

Gold mining is a practice that has been around for decades. It has helped the world, both past & present create the most beautiful pieces of jewellery, well before we realized the impact it has on the environment. We’ve seen itravage landscapes, contaminate water supplies, and contribute to the destruction of vital ecosystems. For a material that is considered so 'luxurious' and 'fancy', it is surprising to see how much harm it causes. You would think it’s made in the best way possible, both for the human beings working for it and the environment.

In fact, it is estimated that “to produce enough raw gold to make a single ring, 20 tons of rock and soil are dislodged and discarded.

Much of this waste carries with it mercury and cyanide, which are used to extract the gold from the rock.” In fact, gold mining relies heavily on the use of toxic chemicals and produces so much waste that once you learn, it is hard to grasp…

But change is happening: for example, the No Dirty Gold initiative is seeking change in the industry, in order to ensure that gold mining operations respect the environment as well as human rights. There ARE ways to mine gold more sustainably, and we need to ask businesses to make sure that they are respecting both the planet and the workers involved in the mining industry and not just thinking of their bottom dollar. It’s good to know the industry is making progress and the standards for mining are rising, however with the Gold industry being a multi-trillion dollar industry, there will always big the large corporations pushing back and ensuring to protect their financial interests. 

 

Recently, many luxury and high-end jewellery brands have made changes in the way they source gold although we have yet to see the proof of those actions. When it comes to the environmental issues, it’s always hard to quantify and truly evaluate the consequences of the actions of mining for metals, good or bad. The only thing we do know, is that it is essential to get to know a brand before purchasing from it and see that they are committing to better practices.

Moreover, we’re lucky enough to live in a time were there is plenty of new innovations developing every day. For example, we’ve seen the creation of lab-made gold: a new way to create this sought-after material in a more sustainable and maintainable way. We can only hope that it will become more and more accessible to help protect our planet and slow down the mining of precious metals. 

Our main priority at Luna & Rose is to make sure we source and work only with sustainable materials and that we are always thinking of our planet first.  That is why we work with Recycled Sterling Silver and are constantly researching the best materials to bring your favourite pieces of jewellery to life. But most importantly, we aim to inspire: if we can influence someone, somewhere, to make a change and walk a little lighter on our planet, we’ll consider our job done!


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