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An ethical turn in African mining: voluntary regulation through fair trade

Fisher, E. and Childs, J. (2014) An ethical turn in African mining: voluntary regulation through fair trade. In: Bryceson, D. F., Fisher, E., Jonsson, J.B.,. and Mwaipopo, R. (eds.) Mining and Social Transformation in Africa: Mineralizing and Democratizing Trends in Artisanal Production. Routledge, Abingdon & New York, pp. 130-147. ISBN 9780415833707

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In recent decades there has been an ethical turn in expectations of how African mineral production and trade should be conducted. Good labour conditions, the absence of conflict and mining’s potential for securing economic, social and environmental benefits are being demanded in the jewellery trade. As a consequence the quality of precious and semi-precious metals and gemstones is now being judged on their ethical credentials in addition to their aesthetic and mineral qualities. Mineral production for industrial manufacture, particularly in the electronics industry, is also coming under scrutiny. Adding value through ethics is closely associated with the use of voluntary (non-state) regulation. This includes standards and associated certification and labels, which have been widely adopted by the minerals and metals sector in efforts to ensure improvements in the social and environmental conditions of production and to enable access to the profitable and expanding global ‘ethical market’. In this chapter, we focus on ethical trading schemes that incorporate voluntary regulation, by using artisanal gold mining in Tanzania and the sale of gold through international fair trade markets as an exemplar to consider the development dynamics that emerge from ethical schemes.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of International Development
ID Code:33748

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