The gold mining organisation SOTRAMI in Peru

Peru is one of the most important gold producing countries in the world. Besides the large international mining companies, there are many small-scale mines that employ the majority of the labour force in gold mining. One such mine is located in Santa Filomena, a village in the Atacama Desert at 2400 metres above sea level in southern Peru. The Sotrami gold mine was Fairtrade certified for the first time in 2011.


Country: Peru

Fairtrade certified in: 2011

Main products: Gold and precious metals

Projects using Fairtrade premium

Organisation and productivity:

  • Improving access and transport routes to the mines.
  • Financing the electrification of the community administration, post office and school building

Workers and working conditions:

  • Construction and maintenance of a health centre
  • Payment for dentist visits
  • Purchase of a vehicle to move the miners between the different places of work and residence. This increases the efficiency of mining operations as workers can live far away from the mine.
  • Improving miners' accommodation such as blankets for bedrooms , to increase livelihood and health in the mining community.

Social projects:

  • Supporting the village school in various areas (renovating classrooms, building a school playground, etc.).

With Fairtrade we will be able to sell our gold at a fair price and thus earn more - this also helps the environment and our community.

Gina Davila, SOTRAMI Santa Filomena Women's Association, Peru

In the 1980s, as a result of the economic crisis, Santa Filomena was plagued by mining workers who tried their luck with gold in the abandoned mining tunnels.

The informal gold miners joined together in 1989 to form the public limited company 'Sociedad de Trabajadores Mineros' (SOTRAMI S.A.). Since May 2011, after a two-year auditing process by the certification organisation FLO-Cert, SOTRAMI S.A. can boast of being the first Fairtrade-certified mine in Peru.

SOTRAMI's workers receive regular medical check-ups and are trained on safety standards, including the safe handling of chemicals and safety regulations in the tunnel. "The miners must always wear their safety equipment, because it is very important that the workers can work in good health, calmly and with concentration," explains Benjamín Vasquez, one of the miners.

Some women in Santa Filomena also work for SOTRAMI S.A. - not directly in the tunnel, because this is supposed to bring bad luck, but as so-called 'pallaqueras', who are responsible for sorting out the gold-bearing rock. The women are organised in an association and divide their earnings among themselves at the end of the month. Gina Davila, one of the pallaqueras, says that Fairtrade has a positive impact on the environment and life in the village.