In a rare statement, Swiss refiners also said they would take the “necessary technical and humanly possible measures in order not to take, import or refine illegal gold including the one from Brazil by tracing and identifying this gold.” They also urged the Brazilian government of Jair Bolsonaro to do more to protect the indigenous population and the environment.
Gold mining by irregular artisanal miners contributes to the deforestation of the Amazon, leaves the soil poisoned with mercury and encroaches on traditional indigenous lands. Brazilian export data and academic studies suggest much of that gold goes to or through Switzerland, a key player in the global gold trade.
“It was quite easy for our members to say we don’t touch gold coming from the Amazon region because this is not the kind of business a Swiss refiner wants to do,” says Christoph Wild, president of the Swiss Association of Precious Metals Manufacturers (ASFSMP) and Traders Association, which signed the June 27 statement.
Other signatories include the gold refineries Argor-Heraeus, Metalor, MKS Pamp, PX Précinox and Valcambi. The ASFCMP has 13 members encompassing the major refineries, Swiss bank UBS and smaller precious metal companies.
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