Updates in Responsible Sourcing – Transforming Gold Mining

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Transforming Gold Mining

The son of missionaries, jewelry designer Toby Pomeroy knew he always wanted to make a difference. In 2004, he got his chance when he learned about the No Dirty Gold Campaign started by Earthworks, a nonprofit dedicated to environmental health and corporate awareness. The campaign strove to raise awareness about the environmental harm caused by gold mining’s then current practices. It inspired Pomeroy to become actively involved in ensuring that the jewelry industry became more responsible in how it sourced its materials. He started small, working with his metal supplier to offer 100 percent recycled precious metals, but over time he had the desire to do more.

Upon discovering that small-scale and artisanal gold miners still relied on mercury to extract gold from ore—a toxic process that can cause neurological disorders and other health problems—Pomeroy was moved to action. In 2017, he founded the Mercury Free Mining (MFM) initiative, aiming to incentivize scientists and entrepreneurs to develop safer and more effective alternatives to mercury. Originally, they focused on raising $1 million to fund a prize to award the discovery of such a solution. However, the organization switched gears in 2021 when it chose to focus on research to discover the most efficient of several gold ore concentration systems.