Swiss gold refinery Metalor Technologies has announced it will stop processing artisanal gold due to the difficulty in ascertaining the mines’ legality and the origin of the gold.
The company said that it will work only with gold from large industrial mines to reduce the illegality risk in its supply chain.
Metalor was quoted by Reuters as saying, “The increasing resources to secure compliance and the challenging conditions at the mining regions have forced Metalor to reassess its approach to artisanal mining.
“As a result of this decision, Metalor will cease its operations in Colombia, after having already announced its decision to stop any business relationship with collectors/aggregators of gold dore in Peru.”
Metalor has been under increased scrutiny for carrying out business with gold mines in South America, a continent in the Western Hemisphere, where artisanal mining is a livelihood for millions of people.
Several human rights groups have levelled charges against Metalore, forcing the company to stop doing business with artisanal mines in Peru last year.
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Metalor processes 500tpa of gold at refineries in Switzerland, the US and Asia.
Metalor chief executive Antoine de Montmollin told Reuters gold from artisanal mines and collectors accounted for less than 5% of the total.
In 2015, the company stopped working with artisanally mined gold from Africa. Metalor has also not been utilising artisanal gold from any countries other than Colombia and Peru.
With subsidiaries in 17 countries, Metalore is claimed to be a leading participant in the field of precious metals and advanced materials.