More than 60 jewelry companies have committed to purchase cleaner sources of gold by endorsing the Golden Rules, a set of principles for more responsible mining. These companies are calling on the mining industry, one of the world's dirtiest, to move away from current practices that harm local communities and generate millions of tons of toxic waste.
There's also the fact sheet which tells us that:
- A single gold ring leaves in its wake, on average, 20 tons of mine waste.
- Cyanide and other deadly toxic chemicals are used to separate gold from waste rock. The average large gold mine uses over 1,900 tons of cyanide per year.2 A rice grain-sized dose of cyanide can be fatal to humans and even smaller amounts can be fatal to fish.
...and more. See Earthwork's No Dirty Gold site for more information and National Geographic's January 2009 article The Real Price of Gold.