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Valérian Mazataud

L'or juste des Andes

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Début 2011, la mine bolivienne de Cotapata a produit le premier lingot d'or équitable au monde. Après une demi-heure de descente à pieds sur un sentier incertain, se dessinent au fond de la vallée quelques baraquements perdus au coeur d'une forêt luxuriante. Vingt-cinq membres de la coopérative exploitent cette mine d'or avec l'aide d'une quarantaine de maneouvres salariés. En 2007, l'Alliance des minières responsables (ARM) s'est tournée vers Cotapata pour y développer le tout premier label d'or équitable au monde. La coopérative a ainsi dû se conformer à plus d'une centaine de règles. Beaucoup de paperasse, mais certaines mesures concrètes ont touchées directement les mineurs, comme une assurance invalidité et des congés de maternité. Pour maintenir sa certification, la mine doit se soumettre à un audit annuel. En contrepartie, la coopérative peut exporter son or à un acheteur étranger s'engageant à lui payer une prime sociale de 10%. Pourtant, au bout trois ans, Cotapata n'est parvenue à écouler qu'un maigre 1 % de sa production sur le marché équitable. «Le marché ne se matérialise pas en une nuit», relativise le bijoutier britannique Greg Valerio, un des fondateurs d?ARM et cite plutôt l'exemple de la mine péruvienne de Santa Filomena, qui a réussi à gagner plus de 100.000 $ de primes en deux ans. En 2014, les trois mines certifiées équitables ont engrengé une prime sociale de plus 300.000 $. Plus d'une vingtaine de coopératives en Amérique du Sud et en Afrique ont également intégré le processus.
In January 2011, the Bolivian mine of Cotapata produced its first ever gold ingot. After walking half an hour down precarious stairs the little cabins of the Cotapata miners appear in the green lush of the valley. The cooperative mine is owned by twenty five members who work alongside forty workers. In 2007, the Colombia-based Alliance for responsible mining (ARM) identified Cotapata as the first ever fair-trade mine in the world. To receive this status, the coop was required to comply with over a hundred rules and to produce an impressive amount of paperwork. Some concrete measures, such as insurance or maternity leave, have a direct impact on the miners' quality of life. To retain its certification, the coop is expected to undergo a very costly annual audit. In return, the mine can export its gold directly to foreign buyers while earning a 10% social bonus on each sale. Still, in three years Cotapata only sold a meager 1% of its production as fair-trade gold. «The market doesn't appear overnight», explains British jeweler Greg Valerio, one of the co-founder of ARM. On the other end, the Santa-Filomena mine in Peru has earned 100000 $ during the two years it has been certified, thanks to the fair-trade bonuses. Still, in 2014, the three certified mines gained more than 300000 $ in social benefits and more than 20 cooperatives in latin america or Africa are engaged in the process.

In January 2011, the Bolivian mine of Cotapata produced its first ever gold ingot. After walking half an hour down precarious stairs the little cabins of the Cotapata miners appear in the green lush of the valley. The cooperative mine is owned by twenty five members who work alongside forty workers. In 2007, the Colombia-based Alliance for responsible mining (ARM) identified Cotapata as the first ever fair-trade mine in the world. To receive this status, the coop was required to comply with over a hundred rules and to produce an impressive amount of paperwork. Some concrete measures, such as insurance or maternity leave, have a direct impact on the miners' quality of life. To retain its certification, the coop is expected to undergo a very costly annual audit. In return, the mine can export its gold directly to foreign buyers while earning a 10% social bonus on each sale. Still, in three years Cotapata only sold a meager 1% of its production as fair-trade gold. «The market doesn't appear overnight», explains British jeweler Greg Valerio, one of the co-founder of ARM. On the other end, the Santa-Filomena mine in Peru has earned 100000 $ during the two years it has been certified, thanks to the fair-trade bonuses. Still, in 2014, the three certified mines gained more than 300000 $ in social benefits and more than 20 cooperatives in latin america or Africa are engaged in the process.