Gold refinery threatens legal action against NGO

The gold industry has come under close scrutiny from NGOs that are concerned of inhumane conditions at some mines in developing countries. Keystone / Martin Ruetschi

Campaigning NGO Swissaid faces a lawsuit from gold refinery Valcambi after it refused to retract allegations of suspect dealings with a controversial supplier.

This content was published on November 4, 2020 - 16:58

Valcambi has already lodged a criminal complaint with prosecutors in canton Bern, according to the Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA. The refinery, based in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino, has now threatened a civil lawsuit.

Earlier this year, Swissaid published a reportExternal link accusing Valcambi of dealing with United Arab Emirates company Kaloti, which it said was a “very controversial player in the industry”. Valcambi has denied that it had been opaque in its business relationships, saying that it had complied with regulations designed to protect gold miners from exploitation.

The refinery threatened to sue Swissaid unless it retracted its report by the end of the month, but the NGO has declined to comply with the demand.

Swissaid stated on its websiteExternal link that it “stands by the research of its study and condemns the threat of a complaint, knowing that the industry shares its concerns. Our demand remains the same: Valcambi must commit itself to human rights in the gold mines.”

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