Ethics Around Gold Mining

Gold nugget gold mine Edge Only Blog post

A few of you have asked us about the ethics around the gold mining industry.  It's not a simple thing to answer, as it is such a big issue, complicated by environmental and human concerns from mine to mine and country to country.

We have done our very best to answer as simply as we can and focus on the most prescient aspects for us.  We hope this helps to give you insight into mining and why as a small business we choose to work with 100% recycled precious metals.

Kind regards,


Ethics Around Gold Mining

Mining is not good for the environment, so let’s not greenwash it. 

Mining is a hazardous occupation for the men and women that work in them and can be disastrous for the ecosystem that surrounds them.

However, mining is a reality of our modern world and some mines are better than others, particularly when it comes to the health and safety of their workers, though virtually none of them are “green” or “good”. 

Mining practices vary from country to country and the ethics of employment within each mine varies dramatically. So too does the processing of the metal itself and managing the environmental impact on the land and the waste associated with processing. 

Barrick Cowal Gold Mine in New South Wales, Australia

Barrick Cowal Gold Mine in New South Wales, Australia. 

Gold mining in Guyana, South America

Gold mining in Guyana, South America

Many small scale mines (as photographed in Guyana above) work entirely outside of a legal framework, employing large amounts of women and children. It's an urgent area of concern for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) but they also acknowledge the economic necessity. 

"For impoverished communities, "mining holds out a promise of cash earnings, with the additional prospect that - a bit like holding a lottery ticket - there could be a large windfall sometime in the future as long as one remains in the game." This reinforces the vicious circle of appalling working conditions, significant environmental damage and poverty in communities whose survival depends upon small-scale mining."

Gold refining. Work on a gold mine laboratory

Mining is a modern reality and precious metals are used in much more than jewellery.  They are used in medical equipment, consumer electronics, mobile phones and car super conductor chips.

At Edge Only, we feel the only sustainable, ethical thing for us to do is to use 100% recycled gold and sterling silver in our jewelry. 

That way we are not contributing to further mining. We are availing of silver and gold that is already in existence and refining it, so that impurities are removed and so that it is ready to be made into something truly beautiful once more. Jewellery that feels great to wear and that you can feel good about purchasing.

All of our jewellery is tested for purity and hallmarked at the Assay Office in Dublin Castle, Ireland.

All of our jewellery is designed and ethically made in Ireland (our Web Exclusive collection is clearly marked and made by robots using 100% recycled silver and gold by our European chain manufacturer).

Precious metals are a finite and valuable resource, so we use recycled or fair trade bullion [bullion: gold, silver or other precious metals in the form of bars or ingots] throughout our production and wish to be transparent about it. 

Gold Bullion ingot

Gold bullion or ingot

Our bullion comes from Europe, through our Irish suppliers, where environmental processing standards are high. 
That is very important to us, as many developing countries (where mass produced jewellery is typically made) simply dump chemicals into the water system, which has a disastrous impact on nature - plant, animals and humans alike. 

Our chain manufacturer is a certified member of the Responsible Jewelry Council:

For more on gold please visit our blog The Key Facts About Gold

For more on Edge Only and our ethics please visit our ABOUT section.

To view our fine jewellery made from 100% recycled gold please click here

For further questions about us or our jewellery, please do not hesitate to get in touch!