In 2015, the Nobel Peace Prize will be made out of gold from a Colombian co-operative. Each year the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize receives the award from the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, during a ceremony attended by King Harald V of Norway.
The winner of this year’s prize was the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, who will be presented with a medal made out of Fairmined-certified gold from the Íquira Cooperative in Colombia. The medal is produced by the Norwegian Mint, which has partnered with the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) in an attempt to support artisan and small-scale gold miners in poor areas.
Íquira produces 8.5 kilos of gold and 19 kilos of silver a year, and started collaborating with the ARM in 2012 in order to obtain the Fairmined certification. Around 90% of gold miners in the world work in small-scale mines, being exposed to difficult conditions and a number of damaging substances such as mercury. The Fairmined certification ensures that miners meet strict requirements for responsible practices.
The co-operative is based in a region known for coffee growing. However, when big companies started showing interest in gold mining the co-operative decided to protect their territory by managing their own mining titles. Íquira is owned by over 30 members who own the land they mine, and also grow coffee, yucca, maize and other crops.
“We made great efforts to achieve Fairmined certification and this has allowed our gold to be chosen for this important medal,” said Jose Ignacio Perez, Legal Representative.
“We are proud that the Peace Prize is made of gold from our cooperative. This is a huge international acknowledgement that allows us to show the world that responsible mining is possible,” said Luis Alfredo Gonzáles, President of the Premium Committee.
“Having the Nobel Peace Prize made in Fairmined gold is an important achievement for the miners as it shows that their dedication to responsible mining is recognised internationally,” said Kenneth Porter from the ARM. “It also shows the world that you can get traceable gold from artisanal and small-scale mining and make a positive impact in the communities.”
The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony will take place on 10 December, when the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet will receive the medal featuring the head of Alfred Nobel. The organisation, which was one of the 273 candidates, will be awarded the prize for promoting peace in Tunisia in the wake of the Arab Spring.