An innovative approach to sourcing gold responsibly and restoring fish habitats in Alaska and Canada, Salmon Gold meets the needs of manufacturing and retail companies that responsibly source minerals for their products.
Washington, DC-based NGO RESOLVE has announced the launch of Salmon Gold™ — an innovative approach to sourcing gold responsibly and restoring fish habitats in Alaska, the Yukon Territory, and British Columbia — with its partners, Tiffany & Co. and Apple.
The Salmon Gold project targets streams and habitat impacted by historical tailings, the residue left over from old placer gold mining sites that can prevent fish such as salmon and grayling from migrating and spawning. Now, 120 years after the first miners began panning for gold in the Yukon River, gold from the project is now in the supply chains of Tiffany & Co. and Apple — both giants when it comes to metals sourcing.
“As we work to increase our use of recycled materials, we’re looking for innovative approaches to source gold responsibly,” said Paula Pyers, head of Apple’s supplier responsibility program. “Our collaboration on Salmon Gold proves it is possible to protect our planet, restore ecosystems and fish habitats, and mine gold responsibly. The blockchain technology we are using with the project allows us to know exactly where the gold originated from as it works its way through our supply chain.”
The initial phase of Salmon Gold focused on re-mining and restoring part of Jack Wade Creek, a tributary of the Fortymile River in Alaska. RESOLVE worked with a Dean Race and his two sons, Chris and Dakota — placer miners and restoration entrepreneurs — and government agencies to test restoration methods, process recovered gold, and establish a chain-of-custody for the first batch of Salmon Gold from the mine to manufacturers.
“This part of Alaska is pretty special,” Dean Race said. "We believe that if you disturb the land, you should put it back the way it was or better. We are part of Salmon Gold because we want our gold and our restoration to make a difference, and we want to fish for grayling in these streams.”
Gold Creek, north of Talkeetna, Alaska — a new site for the Salmon Gold project | Image credit: Dave Baker/RESOLVE
By producing gold that supports restoration, Salmon Gold meets the needs of manufacturing and retail companies that responsibly source minerals for their products. After the pilot phase, RESOLVE will work with partners to expand Salmon Gold’s impact and turn it into a self-sustaining social enterprise that achieves restoration and revitalization of fish habitat at scale.
“Salmon Gold is a restoration startup,” said Stephen D'Esposito, President of RESOLVE. “The idea of local placer miners working with restoration experts to provide gold to jewelry and technology companies while also restoring habitats for salmon and grayling is unique — each of our partners brings a piece of the solution to Salmon Gold.”
“At Tiffany & Co., we are committed to safeguarding critical ecosystems — including in majestic Alaska and its precious salmon habitats, a place that we have long advocated for,” said Anisa Kamadoli Costa, Chief Sustainability Officer at Tiffany & Co. “Salmon Gold proves that responsible mining practices and restoration of important ecosystems in Alaska, the Yukon and British Columbia can go hand in hand. We are proud to collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders to demonstrate the viability of this unique approach and hope to learn from its successes.”
With the success of the initial phase of Salmon Gold, the project has expanded beyond the Fortymile River with new sites now at Sulphur Creek, in the Yukon Territory of Canada; and Gold Creek, north of Talkeetna, Alaska. Additional sites throughout Alaska, the Yukon and British Columbia are now under consideration. Salmon Gold will continue to support stream restoration pilots over the next few years and then scale-up to target restoration at a watershed level.
“We want to show that responsible placer gold mining and good habitat restoration can be aligned in the Yukon. Our Sulphur Creek project is the first Canadian pilot,” said Peter Wright, placer miner and Salmon Gold partner.