Interview Boukje Theeuwes - Chair of the EPRM

    Beheerder EPRM
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    By Beheerder EPRM in the group Redactie EPRM 206 days ago
    Interview Boukje Theeuwes - Chair of the EPRM

    You cannot miss her passion and enthusiasm for minerals, specifically gold. Boukje Theeuwes, senior policy advisor Gold at Solidaridad and the new Chair of the EPRM tells us more about her role as Chair and her vision on the EPRM.

    How did you get involved with the EPRM?

    Solidaridad has one of the largest programs to address social and environmental challenges in artisanal and small-scale mining of gold. Gold symbolizes prosperity, reward, love, commitment and so much more. We believe it should also shine brightly in the lives of the Peruvian miner digging deep underground, or the mother from Ghana who supports three children by working in a gold mine. Mining is the third largest global industry, just behind agriculture, and takes place in 80 countries. There is enormous potential for development in the mining and minerals sector. Responsible mining and sourcing becomes more and more important in the international business and development context. Fortunately, stakeholders have acknowledged this potential to positively impact the minerals sector and started the ERPM partnership. Solidaridad is one of the founding members of the EPRM, so I have been involved from the start.

    What is, according to you, the strength of the EPRM?

    The strength of the EPRM is the fact that members join forces in order to work towards the same goal. The EPRM involves supply chain actors of different levels in the supply chain and creates partnerships among members from companies, civil society and governments. By working constructively together, we are able to share and increase our knowledge and to create impact throughout long and complex supply chains.

    What makes the EPRM so interesting in your opinion?

    The most interesting of the EPRM is, of course, that it focusses on the upstream, midstream ánd downstream actors. Mid- and downstream actors play, after all, an important role in the use and upscaling of responsible minerals. One of EPRM’s most interesting developments last year, is the decision to involve the downstream actors even more in the projects. It has always been the ambition of the EPRM to involve different types of supply chain actors. By strengthening the selection criteria for the financed projects the EPRM managed to do so.

    What are your ambitions as Chair of the EPRM?

    I hope to be able to engage supply chain, government and civil society actors even more to contribute to an increased demand and an increased supply of responsible minerals in a broader range of industries. It would be great if we can join forces with other downstream actors, such as companies in the automotive and jewelry industry, as well as NGO’s and other governments. Midstream actors – smelter and refiners - also play an important role and we want to expand our membership there as well. Actually this is all interconnected: the midstream actors also need the supply of the upstream actors and the demand of the downstream actors.

    Finally, can you also tell us something about a project that really made an impression on you?

    A project that really spoke to my heart was one of the projects with a really strong focus on women. This is much-needed work in the mining industry as women are a substantial part of the workforce and they face many challenges just because they are a woman. For example, they often do not have the same rights as men, earn less, do not hold decision making positions, and face violence. For example, in South America it is believed that the mine is female and will get jealous when women enter. Therefore, women are not allowed to work in the mine as they would chase away the gold. Female miners are left with few other options than processing the low value left-over rocks extracted by men, which is clearly much less profitable. It is of great importance that the position of women working in this sector is addressed. For this reason, all projects funded by the EPRM are, to a certain extent, related to women empowerment.

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