Recently, A. Brandt + Son has partnered with Pure Earth, a leading international non-profit organization cleaning up pollution in the world's poorest communities where high concentrations of toxins have devastating health effects. Pure Earth devises cleanup strategies, empowers local champions and secures support from national and international partnerships.
At A. Brandt + Son, we are passionate about helping the often forgotten and vulnerable individuals who contribute to our favorite industry – the jewelry industry. There are an estimated 15-16 million artisanal and small-scale gold miners worldwide accounting for close to 30% of all gold produced annually. With gold prices now around $1200/oz, for many deeply impoverished communities, mining has become one of the few opportunities families can find in order to survive.
Unfortunately, many artisanal miners use mercury, which binds to the gold and is then burned off, as part of their mining process. Mercury release from small-scale gold mining is now the leading cause of mercury pollution on the planet, second only to the burning of fossil fuels. An estimated one third of annual mercury consumption is attributed to small-scale gold mining. These mining activities release 1,000 tons of mercury into the environment annually.
With gold mining being such an important livelihood for so many, it’s important to figure out a safe way for this activity to take place and mining without mercury is possible. Pure Earth has been working in Indonesia, Peru, Mongolia and many other developing countries to prevent mercury poisoning. They raise awareness amongst miners and their families about the dangers of mercury, train miners in mercury-free mining techniques, and then work with local governments to scale up sustainable mining practices.
Although a large portion of our jewelry is over 100 years old, we believe that by contributing in this way, we can help to ensure a more informed customer who will drive the future of the jewelry industry. Funds raised with this percentage of sales program will help to enable Pure Earth to continue getting mercury out of the mining process, making artisanal mining a safe, productive livelihood.