XAMODX awarded Mongolia’s first Fairmined Certificate

The NGO XAMODX is the first Mongolian organization, only the fourth in the world, and the only one outside South America to have been awarded the Fairmined Certification by the Alliance for Responsible Mining recognizing that the gold it produces is without the use of mercury or cyanide. Its head, Ch. Otgonbaatar, has called it “a great honour” that their hard work over the years is now internationally acknowledged. XAMODX was formed after the 2006 ‘dzud’ had forced some herding communities to seek alternative livelihoods. They moved to an abandoned mine called Tsagaan Tsakhir in the Bayan-Ovoo soum and decided to make mining a sustainable livelihood and occupation. 

In this, they have been supported by the Sustainable Artisanal Mining (SAM) Project of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation in Mongolia. This project’s goal is the increased formalization of Mongolia’s artisanal mining sector while strengthening their social and environmental responsibility, formalization of ASM supply chains for sustainable livelihoods and tangible contribution to local and national economic development. XAMODX was formally registered as a mining organization in 2009 and now has around 2000 members, mainly dependent on mining, though some still rely on livestock and other small trades. Women are an active part of the leadership. XAMODX expects the certification will help it export to ‘ethical’ markets, giving everyone a chance “to own gold to be proud of”.