Scaling up CRAFT and Fairmined initiatives for responsible gold in Honduras

IIED collaborated with the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and other organisations to prepare stakeholders in Honduras’ artisanal and small-scale mining sector to implement the European Union regulation on conflict minerals, improve practices within mineral supply chains and improve the livelihoods of artisanal and small-scale miners through responsible gold production.

January 2021 - December 2022
Towards inclusive and responsible mining
A programme of work on how IIED is facilitating dialogue and collaboration for a fair and accountable mining sector
A group of women stand and sit around a table discussing and adding information to a large piece of paper

Artisanal and small-scale mining dialogues with women miners and community members at the Minas y Cuevas site in Macuelizo, Honduras (Photo: Alliance for Responsible Mining)

In politically unstable areas, the minerals trade can be used to finance armed groups, fuel forced labour and other human rights abuses, and support corruption and money laundering. The European Union (EU) regulation on conflict minerals, which came into force in January 2021, calls on importers of so-called ‘conflict minerals’ – gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten – into the EU to demonstrate that they comply with the standards required by the OECD due diligence guidance.

The European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM), which funded the 'Honduras: land of shining gold' project, is an accompanying measure to the EU regulation. It aims to increase the proportion of responsibly produced minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas (CAHRAs) and to support socially responsible mining that contributes to local sustainable development.

Honduras is a conflict-affected country with more than half of its population living below the poverty line and high levels of unemployment and emigration.

The artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector employs many thousands of people in Honduras and has the potential to bring sustainable development benefits to its mining communities. But at present the sector is hampered by high levels of informality; illegal mining; poor environmental, health and safety practices; human rights abuses; environmental degradation; and a largely unskilled workforce.

A potential way to ensure ASM gold is produced and traded responsibly and improves livelihoods in ASM communities is through standards and certification schemes. Two such initiatives are the Fairmined standard, an assurance label that certifies gold from ASM organisations that meet high standards for responsible mining practices, and the 'Code of risk mitigation for ASM engaging in formal trade' (CRAFT), a voluntary sustainability standard to enable ASM operations to trade in formal supply chains. One mining cooperative in Honduras already complies with CRAFT.

Led by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), and in collaboration with other organisations, this project aimed to:

  • Improve working conditions and mining practices in the ASM sector in Honduras, so it becomes a legitimate, responsible, and profitable sector that promotes inclusive and sustainable development in rural areas, improving livelihoods of miners and their communities
  • Scale up the CRAFT code and Fairmined standard to create a sustainable supply chain​ and promote responsibly produced gold from Honduras, and
  • Help prepare miners, supply chain actors and government institutions for the implementation of the EU conflict minerals regulation.

​What did IIED do?

Building on our dialogue methodology, we led the first multi-stakeholder ASM dialogue process in Honduras to promote a national mining vision and support mutual learning and continued collaboration in the sector.

Our contribution to the project included:

  • Convening multi-stakeholder dialogues, ensuring that voices throughout the supply chain are heard and promoting trust between stakeholder groups 
  • Contributing to training the different national actors in the EU conflict mineral regulation and increasing knowledge and capacity, and 
  • Promoting and disseminating the learning and results of the project in international forums. 

Read a report from the dialogue event (also available in Spanish).