Sustainable gold

Green gold? / Image credit: Own collage - Background: Unsplash

Trend responsible gold

In the meantime, the precious metals industry is also becoming increasingly aware of sustainability and is concerned about the ecological and social consequences of gold mining and processing.

While various approaches are designed to make gold mining more sustainable, it is primarily scrap gold recycling that makes the precious metal environmentally, socially and climate friendly.

Problematic primary gold from mines

Most of the gold in demand worldwide comes from gold mines. Approximately 3,600 tons of primary gold are extracted in mines worldwide every year. When you consider that an average of 1,000 tons of rock have to be moved for 2-3 grams of gold, it quickly becomes clear how much gold extraction in mines affects the environment.

Open pit mine - Image credit: Matthew de Livera / Unsplash

Most of the gold mined is extracted from the earth by large-scale miners, with about 20 percent coming from small-scale mining.

Especially this primary gold or the mining of the precious metal brings ecological and social problems.

While the large mining corporations extract hundreds of thousands of tons of rock every day and the huge mines thus eat into the landscape, the small mines also bring many problems with them: Such "Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining" (ASM) involves small, mostly informal, sometimes also illegal mines, which are operated by individuals, small groups or cooperatives. Even though these small-scale mines help many people in developing countries to earn an income, environmental pollution, poor working conditions and child labor are often on the agenda.

Green gold: Ecologically extracted precious metal

When mining the precious metal, toxic chemicals are used to wash the gold out of the ore. Mercury and cyanide in particular are used. Without the necessary standards, these substances enter the environment and poison drinking water, soil and food.

In the meantime, however, there are also ways of effectively extracting gold from gold-bearing rock using non-toxic substances - certain sulfur compounds or types of glucose.

Green or ecological gold is the term used to describe primary gold, the extraction of which does not involve the use of environmental toxins.

Fair gold: gold mining without exploitation

Initiatives such as Fairmined, Fairtrade Gold, or the Association for Fair and Responsible Gold are designed to ensure that certain environmental and social standards are met in the mining of gold.

Clear rules for this fair gold ensure that the precious metal is extracted without child labor, that workers are paid fairly, and that appropriate safety and environmental standards are met.

The operators receive premiums for this and the guarantee to be able to sell certain quantities for a minimum price.

Climate-friendly gold thanks to recycling

The mining of gold also has an impact on the climate. If you look at thecarbon footprint, there are significant differences depending on the origin of the gold.

With 30 tons ofCO2 per kilogram of gold, the extraction of primary gold in mines is climate-intensive. By contrast, extracting 1 kilogram of gold from electronic scrap emits only 1 ton ofCO2.

Recycling scrap gold(jewelry, dental gold, broken gold...) produces about 50 kilograms ofCO2 per kilogram of gold. And the German refinery C.HAFNER even comes to only 29 kilograms ofCO2 per kilogram of gold according to its own data.

The Belgian company Umicore, both a recycling company and a refinery, states that instead of 200 tons of ore, only 4 tons of old cell phones are needed as raw material for a 1 kg gold bar. Silver, platinum and other metals can also be recovered in this climate-friendly way.

Nevertheless, precious metal recycling of e-waste is still in its infancy. While almost 100 percent of old gold from jewelry is recycled, only about 45 percent of electrical appliances in the EU ever find their way into the recycling loop.

Recycle gold and earn money

When you sell your old gold at Gold & Co, you not only get a good price for your scrap gold, you also actively contribute to a sustainable circular economy. The precious metal can be recycled as often as you like without any loss of quality.

"From WWF's point of view, much of today's gold mining is unnecessary, much more recycled gold could be used. Gold from old jewelry, dental gold or electronic scrap is a sensible alternative to mine gold; gold from jewelry, for example, can already be easily recycled today."
- WWF Germany

Currently, about 30% of the gold processed annually comes from gold purchase and electrical equipment recycling. The recovered precious metal is then processed into new jewelry, used as an industrial material, or becomes bullion coins and bars.

Buy sustainable gold

If you would like to buy sustainable and fair gold as an investment, we at Gold & Co have the right products in our range.

The German refinery C. HAFNER is considered one of the pioneers in terms ofCO2 avoidance and compensation and was the first manufacturer worldwide to establish aCO2 neutral refining process. For this purpose, C. HAFNER exclusively processes recycled gold.

C.Hafner | 1 ounce | cast ingot 2.242,90 

The Heimerle + Meule refinery in Pforzheim, Germany, also does not process primary gold, but relies 100% on recycled gold.

Heimerle & Meule | 10 Gram | Gold Bar 735,60 

Under the name Auropelli Gold Bars, the Swiss manufacturer Valcambi produces "Responsible Gold", where the entire value chain from the gold mine to the finished gold bar is traceable and which meets the strictest environmental, health and safety standards.

Umicore 's precious metal bars can also be described as sustainable, as the recycling and refining company is one of the industry's pioneers in terms of sustainability.

Fine silver Umicore 250 gram
Umicore | 250 Gram | Differential Taxed | Silver Bar 256,50 

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