Mercury Free Mining Challenge
Transforming artisanal & small scale gold mining for the health of the world.


How We Got Here

From the Mercury Mining Challenge founder, Toby Pomeroy:

I’ve been a designer-goldsmith since 1967 and have owned jewelry retail, design, manufacturing and wholesale businesses. In 2004, through discovering the website, I realized that I was a willing participant in the metals mining industry which generates more toxic waste pollution than any other in the world. I had to admit that I had been part of a major problem!

I began looking for ways to bring sustainable practices to the jewelry industry and requested that Hoover and Strong Refiners in Virginia keep their scrap gold and silver separate from newly mined metals then purify them so we could provide for our customers 'reclaimed' or 'EcoGold' and 'EcoSilver'. They agreed and began selling us their traceable, responsibly sourced metals. Shortly thereafter, responding to the fervent interest, Hoover and Strong shifted their business to being a third-party certified refiner/manufacturer of only recycled gold and silver products.

This was a tremendous step forward, an historical event where, for the first time ever, we could purchase and confidently sell traceable, third-party certified, responsibly sourced precious metals.

There was still a great deal more work to be done.

In 2010 I joined the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) to develop and implement a standard for responsible mining designed to empower responsible mining communities and demonstrate to the world that responsible mining is possible! Certified Fairmined gold, silver and platinum are now available as a result of this commitment.

I have visited several artisanal mining communities in Colombia and Bolivia and found the artisanal miners to be a proud, passionate people and among the poorest people on the planet. They’re eking out a living as best they can, doing work that's backbreaking and dangerous with no social security net to rely on.

At the same time, we are undeniably living in times of extraordinary accomplishments, previously un-imagined capabilities and technological breakthroughs that are increasing at an exponential rate.

We have an opportunity to make a global difference far beyond what we ever dreamed possible.