The Swiss Better Gold Initiative – SBGI is a private-public partnership between the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
The Initiative aims at reducing poverty and improving the social and environmental conditions of artisanal and small-scale gold miners through establishing direct value chains for responsibly produced gold “from the mine to the market”.
Although only 10-20% of the globally mined gold is produced in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), it makes up 90% of the workforce employed in the gold mining sector. The environmental and social issues in the ASM gold sector, such as uncontrolled use of mercury, deforestation, water contamination, child labour, etc., are manifold and complex. Workers are exposed to risks of accidents and injuries as well as to health problems.
The SBGI works with ASM operators to improve their social and environmental practices and ensure the production of responsible gold, while at the same time strengthen the demand for responsibly produced ASM gold.
The Initiative was first implemented in 2013 in Peru and has since expanded to Colombia and Bolivia. In its implementing countries, the Initiative’s official partners are the governments, represented by the mining ministries.
In its third phase from 2021 to 2025, the Initiative continues to support ASM operations and work with governments to improve the ASM gold sector’s condition, increasing the focus on transversal topics such as climate change and gender. Furthermore, it aims to reach out to other jurisdictions through complementary activities as well as enhance knowledge dissemination on ASM gold mining.
Private operations by our members are underway:
- In Peru
- In Colombia
- In Ghana
- In Mongolia