Fairtrade gold: not going to work I\’m afraid

Thought this was amusing, the launch of Fair Trade gold.

The ambition is to:

So what\’s in it for these jewellers? Is it more expensive? It costs 10% more, but many jewellers stocking it will absorb the costs in the hope that consumer demand will slowly make it cheaper. The aim is for it to make up 5% of the market by 2025.

Leave aside all the rest of it for a moment and concentrate on that 5% of the market.

Current gold production annually is of the order of 2,500 tonnes. That\’s the new amount that we rip up out of the Earth each year.

However, that isn\’t actually the gold market, not by a long way.

You remember that we\’ve all been told we should recycle everything? You know, to save precious natural resources?

Gold is probably the one material that comes closest to this goal. Other than marginal amounts of grave goods and whatever gold leaf weathers off the onion domes of Orthodox Churches, pretty much all the gold ever produced is still available to us.

Yes, granny\’s gold crown on her back molar does get removed before burial/cremation. Traditional perks that is.

The total gold market is more like the 160,000 tonnes we\’ve ever mined. Sure, a lot of that sits in Central Bank vaults but it\’s all fungible. And no, jewelers (or dentists, computer makers, the three major industrial users) do not distinguish between getting virgin gold from a new mine or recycled from a bank vault.

So the ambition is that Fair Trade gold will be 5% of the market: 8,000 tonnes a year.

Umm, more than 3 times annual production?

I think not, eh?

2 thoughts on “Fairtrade gold: not going to work I\’m afraid”

  1. Possibly they mean 5% of the jewellers market by 2025. Or maybe 5% of the gold market out of Peru. Though because they are talking about using fair trade principles on the minining they probablly really mean 5% of the annual new gold mined each year – so just over 10 tonnes/yr.

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