* First Fairtrade silver comes from a mine in Peru
* Fairtrade premium invested in mining communities
* Artisanal miners not seeing benefit from silver price
By David Brough
LONDON, Jan 4 A jewellery retailer has imported
the world's first "Fairtrade" and "Fairmined" silver to Britain,
in a bid to improve livelihoods of miners working in dangerous
conditions and ensure ethical standards and traceability.
"Fairtrade" silver pays a premium price to poor, independent
miners, who represent the vast majority of the labour force
mining precious metals globally.
CRED Jewellery, based in Chichester in southern England, has
imported some 3 kg. of the silver, extracted from the remote
Sotrami mine in Peru, one of the mines certified as Fairtrade
CRED Jewellery paid a 10 percent Fairtrade premium for the
silver, which is invested in socio-economic projects in the
CRED's first Fairtrade silver jewellery, likely to include
necklaces featuring ingots, is expected to cost the final
consumer some 5 percent more than equivalent silver jewellery
that does not bear Fairtrade and Fairmined certification.
Silver prices have trebled since the height of the global
financial crisis in late 2008 but subsistence miners have not
CRED Jewellery director Alan Frampton said miners often had
no alternative but to dig for a scant living and were denied
their rightful profits by local entrepreneurs.
"There is a huge amount of corruption in the precious metals
world and people are being kept in poverty by corrupt traders,"
he told Reuters.
More Fairtrade and Fairmined jewellery, which is accredited
by the Fairtrade organisation, is expected to be delivered to
licensees in the UK in coming months.
Established in 1992 the Fairtrade Foundation is an
independent non-profit organisation that licenses use of the
FAIRTRADE Mark on products in accordance with internationally
agreed Fairtrade standards.
Leading British jewellers launched certified "Fairtrade"
gold in 2011, part of a growing market in ethical goods ranging
from tea to travel.
The Fairtrade Foundation and the Alliance for Responsible
Mining has said that Fairtrade gold is forecast to account for 5
percent of the global market in the next 15 years as the
initiative is rolled out internationally.
Buyers wanted to know that miners received a fair price and
that the environment was not harmed in the production process.
(Reporting by David Brough; editing by Keiron Henderson)